Russian developers call for state aid

Leading Russian solar developers, including a JV part-owned by Vladimir Putin‘s government, are calling on the state to offer help to investors hit by the plunging rouble.

With developers having committed to 904 MW of solar projects by 2020 under Russia’s latest tenders, major player Khevel says the loss in value of the rouble against the dollar – prompted by the tumbling oil price and Western sanctions over Russia’s involvement in the Ukraine conflict – has changed the rules of the game.

Igor Akhmerov, general director of developer Khevel, has written to Russian deputy prime minister Arkady Dvorkovich asking for relief for solar investors who committed to backing solar schemes based upon a 14 per cent return on investment (ROI).

Projects at risk

Akhmerov says Khevel, a joint venture between the state-owned Rusnano nanotechnology company and Russian multinational conglomerate Renova, may not be able to fulfill all of the 244 MW of solar schemes it has committed to up to 2018 because of the falling value of the Russian currency and the state bank’s rising interest rate, implemented in an effort to bolster the currency.

Akhmerov has called upon the government to alter the capital costs of solar projects to take into account fluctuations in the rouble-dollar exchange rate to shield investors.

Khevel, reportedly backed by Solar Systems, the Russian subsidiary of Chinese power equipment manufacturer Amir Sirius and by fellow domestic developer Energiya Solntsa, also wants the government to extend by two years the guarantee of a 14 ROI for investors as well as removing financial penalties for investors forced to pull out of projects.

Dvorkovich is set to consider Khevel’s request by March 25.