There has been a swell of interest in the Iranian solar industry since the turn of the year saw the loosening of western sanctions against the Middle Eastern country. The coupling of an abundance of solar irradiation and a need for extra power capacity makes the country a particularly interesting proposition for solar investors. Yet market development and investment has been slow.
A cooperation agreement between the BVPA and SUNA, part of the Iranian Ministry of Energy, is looking to build a bridge between outside investors and Iran, with a promise to promote and coordinate the development of up to 1 GW of solar projects and a module manufacturing facility with a 500 MW annual output.
The two parties signed the agreement at the end of last week, during a visit to London by a delegation of Iranian officials, including Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian. The agreement gives BPVA and its members preferential access to the Iranian solar market, while also establishing a committee that will have regular meetings to address all of the issues surrounding the projects.
The Iranian market offers tremendous opportunities to foreign companies in the energy sector and of course the agreement will open the door to many solar energy companies to enter the market, commented Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian. Iran requires huge investments in power industry as 47 to 50 thousand megawatts should be added to the current capacity in ten years time.
We are delighted to have the Minster and his colleagues in London and we hope that this agreement will create massive opportunities for our members in Iran as well as bringing U.K. and Iran closer together in all businesses in the future, said BPVA Chairman Reza Shaybani.
There has been a lot of buzz around the solar industry in Iran in recent months. Italian companies Genesis and Dynkun signed a memorandum of understanding for 100 PV plants of 10 MW each in June, then SCHMID Group announced plans to build a PV manufacturing facility in the country in May, before Planet in Green agreed a PPA for a 100 MW plant in June. There is rightfully a lot of excitement about all of these projects, but certain doubts will remain until modules start being installed.