Uzbekistan announces tender for up to 900 MW of solar

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Uzbekistan and the International Finance Corporation (IFC) have announced plans to roll-out as much as 900 MW of solar power generation capacity via public-private partnerships (PPPs) just weeks after the former Soviet republic awarded its first such solar project to UAE-based developer Masdar.

In the months ahead, the Uzbek government – which wants 5 GW of solar capacity by 2030 – plans to launch a PPP tender for two solar projects with generation capacities of up to 200 MW each, followed by a second, 500 MW round.

This month, the authorities selected a bid from a Masdar to install 100 MW of solar capacity for “a highly competitive tariff of just” $0.027/kWh, according to an online statement made by the IFC, the private finance arm of the World Bank Group.

Rapid progress

“The first solar PPP has set a benchmark for solar prices in our country,” said Shukhrat Vafaev, deputy minister of investment and foreign trade for Uzbekistan and World Bank Group alternate governor. “We are confident that with the help of IFC we can replicate this success in the next rounds.”

The IFC, a transaction adviser in the program, helped the Uzbek government design and tender its first PPP, which attracted 11 pre-qualified developers and five bids. The organization described the level of investor interest as “groundbreaking in a country where the energy sector was traditionally state run”. The World Bank is working with the Uzbek government on tariff reform, renewable project development and investment strategy.

The official launch of the 900 MW tender continues recent developments in Uzbekistan’s growing PV sector. In September, the government kicked off a subsidy program for rooftop PV and revealed plans for a 40 MW solar park in Namangan, in eastern Uzbekistan. However, the country’s installed solar capacity remains negligible, with less than 10 MW by the end of last year, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.