Armenia builds third 1 MW PV plant under special tariff regime, announces plans for module factory

Armenia’s Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources announced the start of construction on the country’s third 1 MW PV plant being developed under the special tariff regime introduced by the Armenian Public Services regulation commission (PSRC) in December 2016.

The tariff applies to PV projects ranging in size from 150 kW up to 1 MW. In December, Hayk Harutyunyan, Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Energy said that the tariff for these projects would be equal to those of wind energy, which is of AMD 42.645 ($0.09) per kWh without VAT.

The country’s third 1 MW plant is currently being built in the province of Vayots Dzor, in the south of the Armenia, the ministry said in a press release. The project’s required investment is about $1 million, Harutyunyan said. The Minister also added that more PV plants under the special tariff regime will be built soon, without providing further details.

The project is part of a US$58 million program which began in 2015, aimed at boosting alternative energy sources in the country. The six-year program is directed by the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Foundation, a non-governmental organization whose mission is to facilitate investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy in Armenia. The scheme is supported by the Climate Investment Funds, the Armenian Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, the World Bank, and the Asian Development Bank.

Meanwhile, in late February the Ministry of Energy announced a plan to build a solar module manufacturing facility. Harutyunyan said that manufacturing activities at the factory will start in the second quarter of this year, and that approximately 50 employees will initially work at the facility. The ministry said initial investment for the factory amounts to 315 million AMD ($650k). The facility will produce solar panels for the domestic market. Profpanel LLC, a newly created company which will own and operate the factory, will be exempted from taxes on import of imported technological equipment, its components and accessories, and raw materials.

Armenia intends to cover 30% of its electricity demand with renewable energy by 2025.

In order to support commercial and residential PV, the government introduced a net-metering scheme for PV installations up to 150 kW in mid-2016. PV systems installed under the scheme need no license and are exempt from taxes. Furthermore, the owners of the PV systems are entitled to sell their power surplus to local utility Electric Networks within Armenia.