Lowest bid in Tunisia’s 500 MW solar tender comes in at $0.0244

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Tunisia’s Ministry for Energy, Mines and Renewable Energy has received five bids for the 500 MW solar tender it launched in November.

Mehdi Majoul, an advisor to the ministry, wrote on his LinkedIn social media account that the bids, submitted by unspecified leading international solar companies, all offered record low energy prices for the Tunisian market, according to the tender’s preliminary results.

Majoul added, the lowest bid – millimes 71.800/kWh ($0.0244) – was for a 200 MW project in the province of Tataouine. Two 50 MW projects, in the provinces of Sidi Bouzid and Tozeur, attracted offers of millimes 79.300/kWh ($0.027), according to the advisor, and the two remaining 100 MW projects – in the provinces of Gafsa and Kairouan – prompted bids of millimes 79.900/kWh ($0.0272) and millimes 84.100/kWh ($0.0286), respectively.

“Notably, the tariff tendered by the company Scatec Solar for [the] Tataouine project, namely $0.0244 per kilowatt hour, is the lowest bid ever recorded in Africa and is among the lowest in the world,” wrote Majoul. “The prices proposed under this tender will help bring down the cost of production of electricity nationwide and reduce the bill for energy subsidies in addition to lowering national imports of natural gas by 5%. These projects will start operating from 2021.”

The Tunisian government had pre-qualified 16 developers for the tender. Among them were European energy giants Enel, Engie, Total and EDF – the latter in a consortium with UAE-based Masdar and Japan’s Mitsui. Other bidders included Canadian Solar; Spanish developers Acciona and Fotowatio; French concerns GreenYellow, Akuo and Voltalia; Norway’s Scatec; Saudi power company ACWA; and China’s TBEA.

Tunisia is also supporting large scale solar through smaller, 70 MW tenders. Those, however, only permit domestic companies to compete.