Kazatomprom sells 75% of solar manufacturing business

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Kazakhstan state owned uranium miner Kazatomprom JSC has sold a 75% stake in its three solar manufacturing units to an international consortium formed by the Yadran Solar unit of Russian oil provider Yadran Oil; France’s ECM Greentech, which manufactures turnkey production lines for the PV industry; and China’s Kasen/Canadian Solar.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, however in September 2017, when the company launched a tender for the sale of the three units, the purchase price was set at around $14 million. Kazatomprom said, under the terms of the agreement the remaining 25% stake will be acquired by the consortium within three years.According to the contract, the consortium will maintain the companies’ business profile, staff numbers and current salary levels, as well as perform to the companies’ existing contracts,” Kazatomprom said in a press release.

The units – Astana Solar LLP, Kazakhstan Solar Silicon LLP and MK KazSilicon LLP – were created with the support of a French consortium led by government-run atomic energy agency the CEA and were formed with fully integrated PV manufacturing lines.

Turkestan signals 100 MW project intent

KazSilicon LLP operates a solar grade metallurgical silicon factory with an annual production capacity of 5,000 tons per year in Ushtobe, while Kazakhstan Solar Silicon LLP has a 60 MW wafer manufacturing facility in Ust-Kamenogorsk. Astana Solar, which produces polycrystalline solar cells and modules, operates a 50 MW manufacturing facility in Astana.

“The consortium intends to restart the purchased companies and produce solar cells in Kazakhstan using the high-purity quartz of the Sarykol deposit from the Almaty region, also in Kazakhstan,” Kazatomprom added.

Meanwhile, the Kazakh government has announced KazPV LTD LLP – likely to be a special purpose vehicle linked to the three aforementioned units – has signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of the Turkestan region for construction of a 100 MW solar plant using PV modules incorporating Kazakh silicon for $100 million, according to a report from news agency Inform.

Kazakhstan supports large scale solar through auctions. In the latest procurement exercise, held in October, Kazakh electricity and power market operator JSC KOREM selected four PV projects with a total generation capacity of 170 MW.

Several other projects outside the auction scheme have been announced in the past month, including a 100 MW facility commissioned in the Karaganda region and a 40 MW grid-connected plant in Gulshat, in the Aktogay district.