Nagorno-Karabakh wants to go solar

The government of the Republic of Artsakh, a disputed region in South Caucasus which is commonly known as Nagorno-Karabakh, announced it has taken its first steps to develop solar energy on its territory.

According to Armenian state-owned press agency Armenpress, the region’s deputy minister of economy Tigran Gabrielyan has revealed that a study to assess the solar potential of the republic is currently being conducted, and that results are expected to be released by October.

The study was requested by the region’s prime minister Arayik Harutyunyan. Gabrielyan explained that the report is intended to identify the most suitable areas of the region for the installation of solar power systems. This assessment, the deputy minister added, is necessary, as potential solar investors must rely on “specific calculations”.

Upon completion of the study, the ministry will carry out targeted meetings with investors, Gabrielyan said. The names of these investors, however, were not revealed.

According to the article, Artsakh’s prime minister has also asked Gabrielyan to evaluate the potential for rooftop PV and storage. The minister also said he is cooperating with his counterparts in Armenia.

Although the Nagorno-Karabakh is considered by the United Nations to be part of Azerbaijan, the region has been under the control of Armenian separatists since 1994, when the Nagorno-Karabakh War ended. The region functions and is administered de facto as a part of Armenia.

The Armenian government is currently supporting PV projects up to 1 MW through a FIT scheme and residential and commercial solar up to 150 kW through net-metering.

Armenia’s Ministry of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources has also published a call for tenders for a 55 MW solar power project in May.

The 55 MW solar plant will be located in Masrik, Gegharkunik province, eastern Armenia, and will require an investment of between $40 million and $60 million. Deputy Minister Hayk Harutyunyan specified that the project could be expanded to 100 MW at a later stage, depending on the investor’s interest.

Armenia’s six-year $58 million solar 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.