Georgia preps 50 MW solar auction

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The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is helping Georgia drum up investment in renewables as the nation attempts to draw up an auction scheme for project procurement.

The EBRD has issued a tender for consultants to advise the Georgian Energy Development Fund (GEDF) in four areas: selecting a site for a PV project with a generation capacity of up to 50 MW; designing a competitive bidding process to support renewables; preparing final documents for the nation’s first solar and wind tenders; and providing technical, financial and legal assistance for the planned solar auction.

In a statement announcing EBRD support, no further details of the 50 MW project to be auctioned were released. It would be Georgia’s first large scale PV power plant.

The first stirrings of solar

Georgia has, however, supported rooftop PV systems with a capacity of up to 100 kW through net metering and a 5 MW facility – the EBRD-backed Udabno Solar Power Plant – is under development for the Sagarejo municipality of the Kakheti region. The GEDF issued a tender for “purchasing consulting services” for the project in April 2017.

Around 78% of Georgia’s power comes from 2.4 GW of hydropower generation capacity, with the balance from 900 MW of thermal power plants. The country’s Ministry of Energy estimates the potential for solar capacity expansion at only 500 MW although the number of sunny hours varies between 1,900 and 2,200 per year. By contrast, wind could provide an estimated 1.5 GW of capacity, says the ministry.

The Georgian government introduced primary legislation for renewable energy this year. Secondary legislation will have to be implemented this year, the EBRD said, and the new consultancy tender is part of that effort.

Georgia is also due to host a solar module factory with a 500 MW annual production capacity that is being planned by German manufacturer AE Solar GmbH.