Wolf Theiss Gives Legal Support to CEE's Largest Solar Power Plant

Analysis

László Kenyeres, head of the projects and energy team (left) and associate Ádám Lukonits.

Wolf Theiss acted as lead legal counsel for a group of investors in the Hungarian renewables sector represented by PolSolar Kft. The mandate encompassed the engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) of the largest solar power plant in the CEE region.

The solar power plant in Mezőcsát (164 km east of Budapest by road) was officially handed over on June 6 and boasts an installed rated capacity of 250 MW, a significant milestone in the country’s transition towards clean energy. The investment was worth more than HUF 90 billion (about EUR 245 million).

The Wolf Theiss team was led by László Kenyeres, head of the projects and energy team, and Ádám Lukonits, an associate at the law firm’s Budapest office. Wolf Theiss provided comprehensive legal assistance throughout the one-and-a-half-year-long process. The team facilitated the tender process for selecting the EPC contractors, drafted and negotiated the EPC contracts, established the necessary collateral structure, and coordinated the client’s product procurement, including the largest-yet single panel purchase in Hungary.

Furthermore, the team handled transportation issues, resolved disputes with EPC contractors, settled insurance claims, and conducted the tender, negotiation and signing of the operation and maintenance (O&M) contracts.

Notable Boost

The solar power plant has already undergone rigorous production tests and has been integrated into the Hungarian electricity grid. Consequently, solar power generation and electricity export figures have already experienced a notable boost.

The Mezőcsát solar power plant accounts for 8% of the total electricity generated by solar power plants in Hungary. The new plant spans a vast area of 440 hectares, featuring 466,000 solar panels, 80 medium-voltage transformer stations and an intricate network of 1,000 km of cables. The power plant can produce 372 gigawatt hours (GWh) of electricity annually, enough clean energy to meet the energy needs of the nearby city of Debrecen (230 km east of Budapest), home to a population of 200,000, for half a year.

Hungarian Minister of Energy Csaba Lantos, Parliamentary State Secretary András Táll of the Ministry of Finance (also the MP for the region), as well as the CEO of the Hungarian electricity system operator Mavir, András Biczók, attended the handover event, underscoring the significance of the development in Hungary’s renewable energy landscape.

Developing the ground-breaking project was a collaborative effort involving six companies with financial backing from a combination of investor contributions and a green bond issuance, reflecting the growing trend of sustainable investment. The expected lifespan of the power plant is projected to be at least 15 years.

The same group of investors has also entrusted Wolf Theiss to oversee the development of additional solar power plants across Hungary, intending to create a further 150 MW in generation capacity.

“These additional projects are currently in the commissioning phase and further cement Wolf Theiss’ leading position as the ‘go to’ firm for energy projects in Hungary and the CEE/SEE region,” the law firm tells the Budapest Business Journal.

This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of June 16, 2023.

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