Russia to pave way for PV

In a bid to boost investment in Russia’s renewable energy sector, the Russian government is drawing up plans to hold annual auctions for major RES projects.

Russian deputy Prime Minister Arkady Dvorkovich announced the proposal at a recent meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev and his staffers.

"The draft is in the pipeline and is expected to be signed by the Prime Minister soon once it is ready. When passed it will serve as an encouragement for solar, wind and hydro power developers," Dvorkovich said.

The plan is similar to proposals unveiled in 2012 for a renewable energy project auction program.

Through annual auctions, developers will offer their renewables projects to investors who will compete for the projects and secure rights for 15 years.

Renewable energy projects are expected to offer lucrative returns on investment of no less than 14 percent as well as payment for power generation. The yearly limit for the total volume of power generation from the facilities will be capped at 6 to 7 GW, however.

In preparation for the new legislation, Medvedev has ordered an easing of lending conditions for sustainable energy developers, asking respective governmental bodies and state co-owned banks to work out a plan of measures aimed at supporting renewable energy projects. Among the government’s proposed measures is an extension of loan granting terms as well as setting interest rates at the minimum level. The Ministry of Economic Development is to sum up the proposals by July. 23.

Medvedev also told ministries to work out measures to promote the industrial use of biomass in power generation.

Meanwhile, Rosseti (Russian Grids), a Russian power company comprising of interregional and regional distribution grid companies, announced that it would be connecting its first ever solar PV plant to its grid this year. The 5 MW solar facility is slated to begin operation in the third quarter of the year in the locality of Kosh-Agach in the Russian Republic of Altai. The company as another 5 MW solar plant that is set to come online in 2015.

"The introduction of solar technologies is especially important in remote regions, where developing conventional power networks is encumbered by the terrain, but where the solar exposure plays an important role," said Vladimir Sofjin, head of Technology Development Department at Russian Grids. "Hence, employing solar PV power can be turned into a maximum economic and technological effect."

The Russian government plans to increase solar generation to a total of 1.5 GW by 2020.