Malaysia launches 500 MW solar tender

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The Malaysian minister of energy, science, technology, environment and climate change has announced a tender for 500 MW of solar projects in peninsular Malaysia.

The tender for the project – Projek Loji Jana Kuasa Solar Berskala Besar Pusingan Ketiga, or Large Scale Solar (LSS) 3 – is the third round of the country’s procurement program for large-scale PV.

The project, comprising solar parks ranging in size from 1-100 MW, is expected to raise around MYR2 billion ($490 million) of investment, the ministry said in a statement.

The tender process will be finalized by the end of the year, while bids will have to be submitted by August, said minister Yeo Bee Yin at a press conference. She added, selected developers must provide engineering, construction and commissioning services based exclusively on local manpower.

Solar race to 500 MW

The LSS tender exercise was introduced by the Malaysian government in 2016 to replace FITs. In the first round, held that year, the Malaysian government allocated 200 MW in peninsular Malaysia and 50 MW in Sabah. In the second tender, held in 2017, it assigned 360 MW in peninsular Malaysia and 100 MW in Sabah/Labuan. In the first round, the maximum size limit for projects was 50 MW, in the second it was 30 MW.

The second LSS auction attracted 1.6 GW of proposals with bids ranging from MYR0.33-0.53/kWh.

Malaysia had an installed capacity of around 350 MW at the end of 2017. Several plants reached financial closure last year and at the beginning of this year, a 65 MW project was grid-connected.

Malaysia also aims to intall 500 MW of rooftop solar by next year under its Net Energy Metering program, introduced in 2016.

The country wants renewables to generate half its electricity by 2050.