The Lebanese Cabinet this week approved a plan for the development of solar and renewable energies, according to government-owned news agency NNA. The plan, which was originally conceived in 2010 by former Minister of Energy and Water Gebran Bassil, was submitted by the current minister Cesar Abi Khalil.
Abi Khalil said that his ministry is now proceeding with the development of the plan’s tender process, and that more details will be provided in the next week.
The Ministry or Energy and Water launched the tender for the development of PV projects exceeding 1 MW in mid-February, according to financial newspaper Le Commerce du Levant.
Bids had to be submitted by Feb. 28, 2017, and the first contracts will be awarded by the end of 2017. The government hopes to install approximately 180 MW of large-scale PV capacity through the auction, as indicated in the approved plan. Selected projects will sell power to local utility Electricité du Liban (EDL) under a 20-year PPA. The price of contracted power will not exceed $0.10 per kWh.
Lebanon currently has 22 MW of installed PV power, of which around 20 MW is represented by distributed generation PV installations. Almost half of all PV capacity in operation was added in the past three years. The only solar farm currently operating in Lebanon is the 1 MW Beirut River Solar Snake (BRSS) demonstration project in the center of the country.
Under the plan approved on Tuesday, dubbed “The National Renewable Energy Action Plan for the Republic of Lebanon 2016-2020”, the Middle Eastern country aims at covering 12% of its electricity demand with renewable energies by 2020, with solar PV and CSP expected to cover 4.2% of demand. Currently, renewables account for around 4% of Lebanon’s electricity mix.
As for the PV technology, the plan envisages the development of both large-scale projects (150 MW) through a tender mechanism and distributed generation solar projects (30 MW) through a net-metering scheme.
The authors of the plan believe that the targeted 180 MW of solar PV installations by 2020 is “very realistic” and that the achievement of this target would require an aggregate investment of around $240 million. A more optimistic scenario depicted by the Ministry, however, forecasts that 300 MW of solar could be installed in Lebanon by 2020.