Russian government to sell Crimean solar plants to private investors

The Russian government has designed a scheme to rescue Crimean solar power plants from bankruptcy and to allow them to resume operations, according to an official representative of the Russian Ministry of Energy. At present total debts of solar power plants to Russian banks are estimated at €820 million, while their owners experience an extreme shortage of funds, having insufficient income to even service debts.

A number of utility scale solar installations Crimea have encountered difficulties when the region transitioned from Ukrainian control to Russian and solar FITs were dramatically cut.

There is now a strong chance that the plants may soon be able to resume operations, which is expected to be achieved in the case of their sale to such Russian energy giants, as RusHydro, INTER RAO and several other companies. Among the potential bidders are also some foreign companies, and in particular Span’s EREDA and Italy’s Enel Green Power.

According to a spokesman of the Russian Ministry of Energy, the resumption of operations of Crimean solar power plants is a political issue and the government will not allow them to descend into bankruptcy.

In addition, according to some state sources, the deals may be signed in accordance with a non-public order of the Russian government. The government will also may participate in talks between banks and potential investors.

After the acquisition of solar power plants by new owners the government will ensure the provision of the same tariff, which is set at 3.47 rubles/kWh (US$0.069/kWh) and currently has no plans for this to increase.

Austria’s Activ Solar was the most active developer in Crimea and Ukraine. It continues to operate a polysilicon facility in Ukraine.

Edited by Jonathan Gifford.