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Solar energy – the inexhaustible source. EIB Fruit garden of Moldova project financed 6 solar systems for cold stores

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The latest of the photovoltaic systems financed by the EIB loan facility will cold store table grapes of Mr. Creţu Nicolai who can now save on energy costs and contribute to reducing global warming.

By using solar energy, we are reducing pollution from burning fossil fuels and contribute to holding up global warming, which today is a tacit threat to humanity. Combatting climate change requires tailored solutions from every business. An example worth following is the one of the Peasant Farm Nicolai Creţu, a farmer passionate about growing table grapes both for local market and export. Launching a horticultural business with only 2 workers in 1996, Nicolai today owns 1,8 ha of vines of the famous red Moldova variety, located in the village of Costeşti, Ialoveni. Until today, the number of workers increased to 4 who together with family members take care of the vineyard and all post-harvest activities. Nicolai embarked on a new family tradition of producing grapes as his son is about to take over the business. An important step in Nicolai’s business was the construction of a refrigerated warehouse with a total capacity of 1000 tones. His grapes are kept here, and in addition, he offers storage services for other producers. The complex consists of two main buildings with 11 cold rooms and a capacity of 90-100 tons each. Adjacent buildings with an area of 500 m² for operations are located on the territory, too. This makes an efficient farm which has all facilities. The challenges generated by the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020 due to difficult logistics in the export trade, made Nicolai carefully analyse how he could reduce costs to be less vulnerable to price fluctuations. As electricity costs for the operation of the cold store play a major role, Nicolai remembered a programme broadcasted by AgroTV about the advantages of photovoltaic investments. He then contacted the business consultancy Alternative AID which facilitates access to investment finance from EIB sources and applied for a loan in the amount of 1.5 million MDL through the EIB Fruit Garden of Moldova project. Alternative AID helped him to understand the different steps to take until the loan is disbursed onto his account. Nicolai applied on 22 July 2020 and already on 07 October 2020, the loan was disbursed so that he could pay the contractor he had chosen for the installation of 100 kW photovoltaic system for which 806 m² panels were placed on the roof of the cold store. A new chapter began in Nicolai’s business. The system is already operational reducing costs and making the business stronger. Alternative AID will continue to support the farm for further investments making use of the investment finance available through EIB.