Mongolia’s largest solar park comes online


Mongolia’s Prime Minister, Ukhnaagiin Khürelsükh has commissioned a 15 MW solar power plant in the Economic Development Zone of Zamyn-Üüd, in the southeastern province of Dornogovi.

According to the Mongolian government, the facility is the second operational PV facility installed in the country, and the largest to date.

It was built by a Japanese consortium formed by Shigemitsu Shoji Co. Ltd, a trading company mainly handling textiles such as towels and building materials, and electronics supplier and module manufacturer, Sharp Corporation in partnership with Mongolian investor, Solar Tech LLC.

The government added the plant was built with PV components that are resistant to the country’s extreme weather conditions, and that it is expected to generate around 32 million kWh per year. No more details on the project were provided.

Shigemitsu Shoji Co. Ltd and Sharp Corporation have also built another solar plant in the country, a 10 MW project located in the northern Mongolian city of Darkhan.

Construction on the project started in mid-July 2016, while it was completed in January 2018. The project was partly financed by funds from the Financing Programme for JCM Model Projects under the Joint Crediting Mechanism, which is operated by the Ministry of Environment of Japan – an initiative by the Japanese government to spread low carbon technologies to developing countries.

Sharp has taken the leading role in the Darkhan project, supplying PV modules, mounting structures and inverters, while also providing system design and engineering services.

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Reduce reliance

Mongolia is using solar to reduce its reliance old coal fired power stations. The largest project under development is a 30 MW project, which is being financially supported by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and investment partners. According to EBRD, the four renewable energy projects it has now financed in Mongolia amount to US$114 million in investment and 180 MW of capacity – 16% of Mongolia’s total installed capacity.

Meanwhile, Chinese news agency Xinhua revealed that, on the top of the aforementioned 30 MW of projects, there is another 20 MW solar park under development in the country, and that all are planned to be located in the province of Dornogovi. Completion is scheduled for the end of this year.

Mongolia implemented a FIT scheme over the past year, which resulted in the allocation of around 200 MW of solar and 450 MW of wind power capacity. According to the World Bank, however, these arrangements “were made without proper consideration of the ability of the power grid to absorb this much variable power and without regard to the ability and willingness of electricity consumers to accept the necessary tariff increases.”

As a consequence, the World Bank explained, the licensed developers have run into difficulties in establishing their plants, leaving most licenses in limbo. The FIT granted for solar was $0.18/kWh.

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