Russia launches major solar plant in Siberia


Russian PV manufacturer Hevel has almost completed construction of its 30 MW Russko-Polyanskaya solar plant in Western Siberia, the government of the Omsk region has announced.

The solar field is expected to generate 35.5 GWh, enough to power 3,000 rural houses, the local government estimated. The RUB2.8 billion ($40 million) plant is slated to become operational on December 10.

Russko-Polyanskaya, not far from the border with Kazakhstan, will become the third solar plant in the Omsk Oblast, a warm part of Siberia with around 300 sunny days per year. The area is sparsely populated and is lacking infrastructure and power generation facilities. Most of the electricity in that part of Russia is generated by thermal power plants.

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“The [solar] plant's designed power generation capacity is equivalent to [the] burning of more than 1,800 tons of coal, and it would … avoid more than 5,000 tons of CO2 emissions into the atmosphere from the operation of coal-fired power plants,” said Oleg Shutkin, director of the engineering and generation department at Hevel.

In addition to avoiding emissions, the new solar plant will improve the Omsk region's self-sufficiency in power generation, added regional energy minister Anton Gaak. “Thanks to the solar plant, the efficiency of the power grid economy is rising,” said the politician. “With new power generation, we can adjust this [system] and, ultimately, reduce the price for electricity for customers in [the] Omsk region.”

The Russko-Polyanskaya plant is set to almost double Omsk's solar power generation capacity, to 61 MW. Solar plants will account for 3.8% of regional electricity output, Gaak said, adding that figure is projected to rise sharply in the coming years.

“We have achieved an agreement to launch new solar power plants with [a] combined production capacity close to 100 MW in the industrial zone of … Neftyanikov town and the southern districts of the Omsk region,” Gaak said, without elaborating further.

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The Omsk government had already promised to build six solar plants in the region within the next three years.

In addition, the local authorities are mulling new incentives for investors willing to develop solar in the region. Proposals include a possible reduction of property tax for companies running renewable energy projects.

The development of solar generation is part of the national Clean Air program, under which the Omsk region wants to cut CO2 emissions by 20% by 2024. The investment cost of the program has been estimated at RUB116 billion ($1.66 billion).

By Vladislav Vorotnikov

This copy was amended on 26/10/21 to remove the statement Hevel is part of nanotechnology innovation business Rusnano, as the latter sold its stake in Hevel in 2018.

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