Uzbekistan has taken its first major steps towards setting up large-scale solar power projects.
The central Asian country has announced that work on three large-scale solar power projects has been initiated. The total installed capacity of these projects would be 300 MW, and will require an estimated investment of nearly $700 million.
According to media reports, at least one of the projects was announced through a tender in 2014, and will require an investment of $274 million to be developed in the Samarkand region. The winner of the tender has not been announced yet and will be finalised soon by Uzbekenergo Joint Stock Company.
The other two projects will be set up in the Namangan and Surkhandarya regions, with aggregate costs of about $420 million. The Asian Development Bank and the Uzbek Fund for Reconstruction and Development will finance the projects.
All three projects are expected to be operational by 2020.
Uzbekistan is rich in renewable energy resources, including wind and solar energy. Wind energy potential is estimated at around 520 GW, enough to meet a quarter of the country’s energy needs. It is imperative for Uzbekistan to increase energy production from renewable energy sources as it is almost completely dependent on oil and gas imported from Russia.
The first solar power project in the country was commissioned in December 2014. The 130 kW solar photovoltaic power project was set up in the Namangan province. The project was implemented through cooperation with South Korean companies.
Uzbekistan has set a target to generate 21% of all its energy from renewable energy sources by 2031. This includes having an installed solar power capacity of 2 GW in the near to medium-term.
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