Russia pre-qualifies PV projects totaling 554.3 MW for pending RE auction

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Some 37 solar projects with a combined capacity of 554.3 MW were pre-selected by Russia’s Trading System Administrator (JSC ATS) to compete in this year’s renewable energy auction for wind and solar, which will see the allocation of almost 1 GW of power generation capacity.

According to an ATS document, four submitted projects ranging in size from 5 MW to 35 MW would be planned to become operational in 2019, at an expected cost of RUB122,857 ($1,980) per kW installed.

Another 22 projects with a capacity of between 5 MW and 50 MW would come online in 2021, at an estimated cost of RUB117,993 per kW installed and a further 11 schemes would be able to start delivering power in 2022, with capacities of 5 MW to 40 MW and at an expected cost of RUB115,633 per kW.

Only about a third of the 554.3 MW, however, will see the light of the day as according to JSC ATS, only 35 MW of capacity may be put into operation next year, 77.6 MW in 2021 and 37.6 MW in 2022. In this year’s auction, wind would have the lion’s share, with a total allocated capacity of around 1 GW.

Last year’s auction saw a 30% reduction in proposed project CAPEX for several wind power projects. According to local business development consultant Stanislav Osadchiy, who cites local industry experts, this year’s auction may see another wind power CAPEX reduction as new international players could join the fray. “However there are no signs of new PV players joining the Russian [renewable energy] projects market, therefore proposed PV power projects [can hardly be expected to see a] significant CAPEX reduction,” Mr Osadchiy told pv magazine.

In the renewables auction it held in 2017, the ATS assigned around 520 MW of PV capacity. Overall, the Russian government allocated 2.2 GW of renewable capacity, of which 1.65 GW was for wind projects. In the auction’s pre-selection phase, about 625 MW of PV projects were received.

All of the projects were submitted by local players such as power provider T Plus and module manufacturers Hevel Solar and Silicon Technologies. Under current regulation,  in order to be admitted to the RE capacity selection a PV project has to satisfy localization requirement to at least 70%.

According to the latest official statistics available, Russia had around 540 MW of installed PV capacity at the end of 2016. Of that, however, 400 MW was accounted for by PV plants in Crimea, seized by local authorities after the region was annexed by Russia in 2014.

Through its renewable energy (RE) auction mechanism, Russia intends to deploy around 1.52 GW of PV by 2024.