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Voli, Montenegro’s largest food retail chain, goes solar with EBRD funding

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo

  • Loan of €4 million to Voli, Montenegro’s largest food retail chain
  • Voli will install solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations
  • Feasibility study supported by Austria’s DRIVE fund

The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has signed a €4 million loan agreement with Voli, Montenegro’s largest food retail chain, in Podgorica today.

Voli will use the funds to purchase and install solar panels with up to 4 MW capacity and charging stations for electric vehicles at its facilities and logistics centre.

The feasibility study for the project was supported by donor funds from Austria’s DRIVE fund. The upgrades will protect Voli from future potential energy price volatility, which remains a hot topic after European economies experienced surges in energy prices last year in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Significant CO2 reductions will be achieved. Electric vehicle charging stations on site will also make the chain more attractive to shoppers, including tourists.

EBRD Head of Montenegro Remon Zakaria said: “The green economy and energy security are our top priorities across the region and in Montenegro. Our long-standing client, Voli, has made yet another great decision to supply their modern retail facilities with their own solar energy, helping decarbonise their operations while securing their energy supply for decades to come”.

EBRD Regional Head of Agribusiness, South-eastern Europe Miljan Ždrale added: “I’m pleased to see the EBRD continuing to work with its long-standing partner Voli through this green investment. The project will support the company’s energy efficiency in the current turbulent energy market. At the same time, it will help reduce its carbon footprint and improve its overall competitiveness.”

The president of Voli, Dragan Bokan, said: “Voli plans to develop more and more projects aimed at energy efficiency in the coming years. As a major consumer of electricity, our investment in the construction of solar panels will contribute to reducing pollution and protecting the environment by cutting carbon dioxide emissions. Our responsibility towards the community around us means that we must pay attention to issues of general interest and consider the future of our community and our children. For this reason, we support innovative solutions, with the aim of making the world around us a healthier place to live.”

Voli is the leading retailer in Montenegro and the country’s largest employer, with approximately 2,400 employees. The company was founded in 1995 and started working with the EBRD in 2009. The Bank has been a minority equity investor in the company since 2015.

To date, the EBRD has invested €725 million in Montenegro.       

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