Uzbekistan’s dream to use solar energy may come true soon

By Kamila Aliyeva

Uzbekistan, which has long been striving to use its solar energy potential, may finally reach its dream and construct a solar power plant.

Currently, Indian company Shapoorji Pallonji is studying the issue of building a solar power plant in Uzbekistan. The company is interested in the implementation of investment projects for the construction of solar power plants in Uzbekistan with a capacity of 50 to 100 MW.

At the moment, the Indian company is exploring the possible locations of the solar power plant, the tax and customs benefits provided in this area, the duration of the contract for the sale of electricity, the terms of granting state or sovereign guarantees with respect to attracted financial resources.

Potential areas for the construction of the solar power plant are the Samarkand, Bukhara and Kashkadarya regions.

Uzbekistan enjoys vast potential in renewable energy, and 98.5 percent is solar energy, 320 sunny days per year. The World Bank estimates that Uzbekistan solar total potential is more than about 51 billion tons of oil energy, which cannot only save a lot of oil resources, but also improve the atmospheric environment.

The country adopted the program on the development of alternative energy sources in 2013. In particular, construction of the several solar power plants with total capacity of more than two gigawatts, creation of the International Institute for Solar Energy and the construction of the facility on the photovoltaic panel production is planned within the framework of the program.

Uzbekistan announced its plans to build five solar photovoltaic stations with a total capacity of 500 MW and a preliminary cost of more than $1.1 billion by 2021.

Previously, it became known that the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, will support construction of a solar power station in Navoi region of Uzbekistan with a capacity of up to 100 megawatts.

In spring 2018, an agreement was signed with the Canadian SkyPower Global for construction of facilities for generation of solar energy with a total capacity of 1,000 megawatts. The company intended to invest $1.3 billion in construction of facilities in Tashkent, Samarkand, Navoi, Jizzakh, Surkhandarya and Kashkadarya regions.

Uzbekistan provided SkyPower Global, its subsidiaries and contractors involved with a wide list of benefits and preferences.

At the same time, although the construction of Central Asia’s first solar power plant in the Samarkand region of Uzbekistan was announced back in 2014, it was then suspended.

In 2016, the tender for construction was won by the Chinese Zhuhai Singyes Green Building Technology. The project worth $275.8 million was to be financed through loans from the Asian Development Bank and by the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan and Uzbekenergo.

Later, however, as a result of careful examination of technical and economic documents related to the project, it was found that the project should be revised, resulting in suspension of the construction of a solar power plant in the Samarkand region.