Tunisia announces grid-connection of its first solar park

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Tunisian prime minister Youssef Chahed has officially commissioned the country’s first large-scale solar park, the 10 MW Tozeur I solar facility.

The project is owned by Tunisian state-owned utility Société tunisienne de l’électricité et du gaz (STEG), and is located near Tozeur, in the south of the country.

STEG kicked off the tender for the project in 2014. Italian solar developer Ternienergia, won the €12.5 million EPC contract for the project in March 2017.

The €16 million project was financed by German development bank KFW, under Tunisia’s Plan Solaire Tunisien (PST) program. KFW provided a €12 million low-interest rate loan for the plant’s construction, and a further €0.5 million for additional services related to the project.

A twin project is coming

STEG is also currently developing another 10 MW solar park in the area, the Centrale Photovoltaique Tozeur II. The tender for this project was issued by the company in December 2017.

Both Tozeur projects are the only large-scale solar plants being developed in the country outside of the government’s tender mechanism, which includes two separate 70 MW tenders for projects up to 10 MW, and a unique tender for 500 MW of larger solar parks. Preliminary results of this tender indicate surprisingly low bids, the lowest coming in at $0.0244/kWh. Projects selected in all of these auctions are expected to sell power to STEG under a long-term PPA.

Under its renewable energy strategy, Tunisia aims at achieving 4.7 GW of renewable energy capacity by 2030.