Masdar inks MoU to develop 300 MW of solar in Armenia

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The Armenian National Interest Fund (ANIF) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with energy giant Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, better known as Masdar. The MoU sets out for a collective effort to deploy 500 MW of renewable energy capacity in the sun-basked country.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, CEO of Masdar, signed the preliminary agreement with David Papazian, CEO of Armenian National Interests Fund (ANIF), at a high-level event in Yerevan, Armenia. The document carves out that Masdar will explore collaboration to develop 100 MW of floating PV, an additional 200 MW of land borne PV and 200 MW of onshore wind capacity.

According to Masdar CEO Al Ramahi, the Armenian economy is among the fastest growing on the Eurasian Economic Union. Due to an increasingly open and supportive regulatory environment, Armenia would be a promising market for investment in wind and solar energy assets.

“At Masdar, as the renewable energy company of both Abu Dhabi and Mubadala Investment Company, we are excited to have this opportunity to strengthen the relationship between Armenia and the UAE further, and to share with our hosts our 13 years of experience delivering renewable energy projects around the world,” Al Ramahi said. “We look forward to supporting Armenia in the realization of its bold sustainability targets.”

According to the joint announcement, Armenia has more than 200 rivers and lakes, with hydroelectric power generation supplying 20% to 40% of the country’s energy mix, depending on rainfall. This indicates that some of the floating capacity could be co-located with hydropower generators.

Despite Armenia’s boasting solar irradiation figure of 1.720 kWh/ m², the country’s solar market remains in its infancy. Last year, Armenia’s Ministry of Energy Infrastructure and Natural Resources announced that Spanish solar project developer, Fotowatio Renewable Ventures, B.V. (FRV), part of UAE-based Abdul Latif Jameel Energy, was awarded the contract to build the 55 MW Masrik-1 solar project.

The Spanish company and its unit SFL Solar have offered to sell power to the local grid at a bidding price of 20.11 AMD ($0.046)/kWh. The Armenian government stressed that this price is lower than the average cost of 23.8 AMD, at which hydropower and gas power plants usually sell electricity.

Armenia has set a target to generate 26% of its domestic power from renewable resources by 2025. If plans move along, and Masdar installs 300 MW of PV, this would be a significant boost to the Armenian PV market. According to the Ministry of Energy Infrastructures and Natural Resources, aside from the Masrik-1 project, there are five other PV projects under construction with a cumulative capacity of 60 MW. The country currently has nine PV plants operational, accounting for 7 MW of installed capacity, and another 31 MW have been licensed for construction. For residential and commercial projects under 500 kW in size, another 10 MW of capacity has been installed in the country, the ministry reports.