Iran’s PV market expected to see strong growth over next 12 months

Iran has reached 22.1 MW of cumulative PV capacity to date, according to official statistics provided by the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA), which is run by the country’s Ministry of Energy.

According to SUNA, 7.4 MW of this capacity is represented by government-owned installations, while the remaining 14.7 MW comes from non-governmental PV power stations.

Furthermore, the agency reports that 34 companies have already secured a long-term PPA for additional PV projects totaling 367.7 MW. Overall, the Iranian government has granted PPAs for additional renewable energy projects with a combined capacity of 1.151 GW, of which 96 MW is currently online.

The country’s largest operational PV plants are two 7 MW facilities developed by local company Aftab Mad Rah Abrisham. The two plants, named Persian Gulf and Amir Kabir, were completed by German developer Athos Solar in early 2017. The company financed the investment of around €20 million with equity.

Under Iran’s support scheme for renewable energies, PV installations can sell their power output to the local grid under a 20-year PPA. PV projects exceeding 30 MW are granted a special tariff of 3,200 IRR ($0.098) per kWh, while PV plants ranging in size from 10 MW to 30 MW receive a tariff of 4,000 IRR ($0.123) per kWh. PV projects up to 10 MW are entitled to receive a tariff of 4,900 IRR ($0.151) per kWh. PV plants constructed using local equipment can benefit from a 30% FIT increase.

Meanwhile, state-owned press agency Mehr reports that SUNA managing director Seyed Mohammad Sadeqzadeh has predicted that between 700 and 850 MW of new renewable generation capacity will be installed in Iran in the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 1, 2017. Sadeqzadeh added that solar and wind will account for 90% of this new capacity.

Currently, renewable energies provide about 1% of Iran’’s electricity, while more than 80% comes from fossil fuel-based generation.

There has been a lot of buzz around the solar industry in Iran over the past two years. Italian companies Genesis and Dynkun signed a memorandum of understanding for 100 PV plants of 10 MW each in June 2016, 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. Furthermore, the British Photovoltaic Association (BVPA) and SUNA announced a plan 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.