Oman to tender 200 MW of solar by the end of 2017

Oman’s utility Oman Power and Water Procurement Company SAOC (OPWP) has issued a request for proposals to seek legal advisors for the competitive tendering of a commercial scale solar power plant to be connected to the country’s Main Interconnected System (MIS).

The company stressed that the project, which will be the country’s first MW-sized PV plant, will be developed as an independent power project (IPP). Interested bidders must submit their proposals by July 24.

OPWP issued a similar RfP for financial and commercial advisory services for the project in May.

In its 7-year statement for the period 2017-2023, which was released in May, the power utility said the tender for the project was scheduled to be launched in the fourth quarter of this year, and that the contract for the plant’s construction will be awarded by the third quarter of 2018.

In the document, OPWP also said that the project will have a capacity of at least 200 MW and that it is scheduled to be operational by 2020.

Overall, the utility is planning the procurement of at least 1,600 MW via a new process that allows existing plants with expiring contracts to compete with prospective new IPPs for contracts beginning in 2022.

Oman’s government is currently also planning to support residential PV systems through an “accelerated subsidy adjustment” scheme. The new mechanism, which will be open to residential PV projects with a capacity between 2 kW and 4 kW, will not be designed as FIT scheme, as the regulator said that most of the PV power generation is expected to be self-consumed, and that a FIT may be appropriate for larger PV systems “provided the terms of FIT contracts can be competitively tendered”.

A study published by OPWP in 2015, estimated that rooftop PV systems installed across the country could potentially generate 1.4 GW of renewable energy. In the Oman capital Muscat alone, the generated power capacity could reach 450 MW, the study showed.