Deadline extension in Tunisian PV tender

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Tunisia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy has extended the deadline for project proposals for a 70 MW solar tender by two months, from Wednesday August 15 to October 18.

Proposals need to be submitted to the energy ministry before noon on the day in question.

The tender was initially announced on May 30 and concerns six projects of 10 MW capacity and another 10 of 1 MW.

Tunisia’s tender model

It is the second round of calls for PV projects of this kind, termed a Regime Authorizations tender. The winners of the first such exercise were revealed in May and also concerned 70 MW of capacity.

An additional “Regime Concessions” tender of 500 MW is at the pre-qualification phase and regards PV projects on five sites, each with a capacity of between 50 and 200 MW.

Successful proposals in both tenders translate into projects that need to be developed under the build, own, operate model by which the owners of PV farms sell the electricity generated to Tunisia’s state-owned Société Tunisienne de l’Electricité et du Gaz (STEG) utility, under 20-year power purchase agreements.

Competitive PPAs

Given Tunisia does not have a feed-in tariff, its tender model rewards bids offering the lowest priced electricity, with investors submitting PPA prices to the utility.

Tunisia meets around 97% of its electricity needs from gas and oil.

German development agency Gesellschaft fur Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) says in 2015 energy subsidies in the north African state reached around €150 billion ($173 billion), stretching the state budget.

Renewable energy targets

Furthermore, according to GIZ, Tunisia installed only 35 MW of solar PV capacity last year.

The Tunisian Solar Plan is aiming for 30% of the country’s electricity generation in 2030 – 3.8 GW – to be from renewables and the authorities have set a goal of 1 GW of installed PV and wind power capacity by 2020, with an additional 1.25 GW of renewable capacity by 2025.