Russia’s RE auction concludes with surprisingly low bids


Russia’s Trading System Administrator, JSC ATS has assigned the almost 150 MW of solar PV capacity planned for this year’s renewable energy auction to Russian solar module manufacturer, Hevel Solar and Finnish power utility, Fortum.

The Russian company won contracts to build a 23.5 MW solar plant in the Republic of Kalmykia, and two more facilities with a capacity of 5 MW and 10 MW, each, in the Altai Republic, through its subsidiary, Avelar Solar Technology.

All of the plants are due to come online by the end of 2019, and are expected to be built at a CAPEX of around RU B122,000 (US$1,956) per kW installed.

Fortum, which was awarded a total of seven projects, proposed a CAPEX that was nearly half that of Hevel’s, at between RUB 58,984 ($945) to RUB 69,853 ($1,120) per kW installed.

It will build an 18 MW facility in the Astrakhan region, a 17 MW plant in the Republic of Bashkortostan, and five 15 MW solar parks across the regions of Kalmykia, Saratov, Orenburg, Bashkortostan.

Two of these projects are scheduled to start delivering power to the Russian grid in 2021, while the remaining five will begin in 2022.

“The power plants are to be commissioned during the years 2021-2022 and will receive a guaranteed power price corresponding to approximately EUR 150 per MWh for a period of 15 years,” the Finnish utility said in a statement released.

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Fortum also won 832 MW worth of wind power projects in the auction, as part of a consortium with Russian technology company, Rusnano, which is also a major shareholder of Hevel Solar, along with local industrial conglomerate, Renova.

According to local business development consultant, Stanislav Osadchiy, the higher CAPEX offered by Hevel Solar is a result of it using its HJT modules, where efficiency exceeds 22%.

“These modules are well suited to generate electricity under scattered light, which is frequently the case of Russia, not so rich in solar resources,” he said, adding, “Fortum’s bids for PV power projects proved to be total surprise even for the industry experts.”

Osadchiy further said that it is still unknown if Fortum plans to use local equipment suppliers. However, the PV power projects allocated under the RE Projects Selection in Russia, must adhere to 70% local content requirements.

The JSC ATS pre-qualified 37 solar projects with a combined capacity of 554.3 MW for the auction. In the renewables auction it held in 2017, it assigned around 520 MW of PV capacity. Fortum and Hevel were also among the winners of this auction.

Overall, the Russian government allocated 2.2 GW worth of renewable capacity in its latest auction, of which 1.65 GW went to wind projects. In the auction’s pre-selection phase, around 625 MW of PV projects were submitted.

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