Uzbekistan’s government has announced that the country’s state-owned power utility, JSC Uzbekenergo has signed an agreement with Canadian solar developer, SkyPower Global for the construction of several large-scale PV plants with a combined capacity of 1 GW, across the regions of Tashkent, Samarkand, Navoi, Jizzakh, Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya.
According to a decree issued by the government in late April, SkyPower will invest approximately $1.3 billion in the proposed projects, while local authorities will ensure that imports of relevant PV components for the solar facilities will be exempt from custom duties and other taxes.
The solar plants will be owned and operated by SkyPower and will be awarded a long-term PPA with Uzbekenergo. The government specified that, in the case of Uzbekenergo entering insolvency, it will guarantee the payment of the energy produced by the solar plants.
The Uzbek government also said it will ensure simplified visa procedures to highly qualified foreign experts for the project’s realization.
If implemented, this plan would be the first real attempt by the country to deploy solar capacity. In March of last year, the Uzbek president, Shavkat Mirziyoev announced a draft decree, which envisaged the introduction of a new renewable energy regulation, and the deployment of 500 MW of PV capacity. Since then, however, no further developments have been announced.
The 2017 plan included three PV projects currently under development in the country. Last January, Uzbekenergo revealed that there were three large-scale PV projects totaling 300 MW under development in the region of Samarkand. One of these is a 100 MW solar plant tendered by the utility in 2014. The project was awarded to Chinese solar company, Singyes in December 2016.
According to a recent report on Uzbekistan’s solar development published by Elsevier Ltd, Uzbekistan currently covers its power demand by 85% with natural gas, 8% with heavy oil, and 7% with coal. Total installed power capacity stands at around 10.5 GW.