Russian solar module producer and project developer Hevel Solar, a joint venture between Russian industrial conglomerate Renova Group and nanotechnologies provider JSC Rusnano, announced it has signed an agreement with the government of the Russian Republic of Tyva, in southern Siberia, for the installation of stand-alone hybrid solar-diesel power plants in the region.
According to Hevel, these installations, which will initially have a combined capacity of 1.6 MW, are planned to provide remote areas of the region with power. Tyva is the least developed region in eastern Siberia. Hevel said all the projects will rely on modules coming from its factory in Novocheboksarsk, in the Chuvash Republic.
According to a study recently published by Oxfam GB, small-scale renewable energy projects may help local economies and communities in the Tyva Republic to achieve changes in economic, social and climatic environments. The local government is hoping to increase power supply by creating a connection with Russia’s Federal Company, increasing the capacity of a cogeneration power plant owned by Yenisei TGC, building a 300 MW thermal power plant on a former coal field, and supporting a plan of Russian hydropower producer Rushydro to install 150 MW of hydropower capacity. Tyva, however, is one of Russia’s regions with the highest degree of solar radiation. According to the Oxfam GB study, solar energy can be used by PV generators of any capacity in both a centralized and decentralized manner in the republic.
Hevel announced a plan to build hybrid diesel-solar power plants with a combined capacity of 40 MW in in Russian Far East, the country’s easternmost region with limited access to electricity and transmission networks, in early June.
“Building off-grid generation using renewable energy sources is, first and foremost, a contribution to regional development”, said Hevel CEO Igor Shakhray at the time. “Diesel-solar plants cut consumption of diesel fuel by up to 50% in remote district where it is not economically viable to build a transmission grid.”
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Russia is a federal state, but the units are not all of the same type. The “autonomous republics”, usually based round a non-Russian ethnic group, do indeed have more freedom of action than standard regional authorities, and more motivation to exercise what they have. So they have attracted much of the rather limited solar investment in Putin’s petrostate.
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