Quercus to build 600 MW in Iran

The project will be the London-based company’s first investment outside of Europe. It claims that its plan is one of the biggest investments to be announced by a U.K. company in Iran since international sanctions were dropped against the country last year. It has already signed an agreement with the Iranian Ministry of Energy.

“Iran is seeing unprecedented levels of investment since the lifting of international sanctions,” Diego Biasi, CEO of Quercus.

The company said the Iranian government’s renewables target of 5 GW by 2020 — as well as its feed-in tariff (FIT) to facilitate solar development — underscore the country’s future potential. The Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization (SATBA) offers a FIT of IRR 4,900 ($0.15)/kWh for PV projects below 10 MW in size and a rate of $0.12/kWh for projects between 10 MW and 30 MW. It remains unclear what FIT rate will be applied to the 600 MW project that Quercus will develop.

The company also did not reveal the location of the planned installation, nor the equipment suppliers. It also did not say how it plans to finance the construction of the project, which will take about three years to build. The company expects to complete one fully operational 100 MW phase every six months throughout the construction period.

The company has built up a portfolio of 40 projects since 2010, with more than €500 million ($600.3 million) of financing. It manages several funds focused on renewable-energy investments in Europe.

Iran’s cumulative installed PV capacity stood at just 15 MW at the end of 2016, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). However, the country’s nascent solar market has truly started to take shape this year, with several companies announcing projects in recent months.

In February, Germany’s Athos Solar connected 14 MW of PV to the grid in Hamadan province. Canadian Solar supplied the PV modules.

In July, Iranian PV developer Mokran finished building a 20 MW solar array in the southeastern province of Kerman. The company is already working on another 100 MW solar project near the city of Mahan, Kerman. Also in July, Iranian media reported that Switzerland’s Ecofinance and several undisclosed European partners had started building a 30 MW array in North Khorasan province.