By Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs, for Eurasia Network – May 27, 2017

Solar panels - Pixabay

Solar panels – Source : pixabay

The Russian company Solar Systems, founded by the Chinese Amur Sirius in 2014, would be ready to take part in the next Russian tender on renewable energy capacities for an amount of 280 MW, reported the newspaper Kommersant. The competitive selection will take place from May 29 until June 9, 2017. A total of 625.2 MW of solar power generation will be put up for tender. Results will be published on June 30, 2017.

If Solar Systems places the winning bid for solar power projects, it could become one of the leaders of the market in Russia. The attributed 280 MW generation capacities should enter into service by 2022. Such a project would cost $ 527 million (RUB 30 billion) revealed the Kommersant. Besides, the company earlier announced that it plans to launch this year a photovoltaic modules production plant in Podolsk, in the Moscow oblast.

Building solar power stations

Solar systems is already experienced in the Russian renewable energy sector. Indeed, the company has entered the market by carrying out projects in several regions. It claims to own a 255 MW operational capacity portfolio and aims to further develop its infrastructure assets.[1]

The company bought two solar power stations under construction in the Astrakhan oblast last April (Zavodskaya and Promstroymaterialy solar power plants). The Russian holding Solar Energy initially launched these two solar farms projects reaching a total capacity of 30 MW. These facilities are equipped with solar panels produced by the Russian company Solar Silicon technology. One of them, the Zavodskaya solar power station located in the village of Volodarskyi, is expected to be completed next month and put into operation in July. The second solar power plant would be achieved in the first months of 2018.

Local authorities support the project, as the Governor of the Astrakhan oblast, Alexander Zhilkin, visited the construction site of the Zavodskaya solar power station on May 18, 2017.

In addition, Solar Systems is building a 25 MW solar farm in the Samara oblast and would start the construction of a 100 MW solar power plant in the Stavropol krai this summer for an entry into service in 2019. The company also plans to build solar power stations in the Volgograd oblast and Republic of Kalmykia.[2] Equipment would be mainly manufactured on the Russian territory, report press sources. [3]

Read also : German SOWITEC to build a 90 MW wind farm in southern Russia

The company has already won the right through tenders to build 175 MW of solar power capacities over the 2016-2018 period on the Russian territory and enjoys a guaranteed return on investment with a fixed profitability rate based on electricity tariff, reported the press agency Interfax.

Moreover, Mikhail Molchanov, the General Director of Solar Systems, stated that the company does not rule out other acquisitions of solar power plants in Russia. Negotiations would be underway.

Furthermore, Solar Systems informed that the total investments in its solar projects in Russia will amount to $ 590 million (RUB 33.5 billion) while about $ 415 million (RUB 23.5 billion) of which (70% of the capacity portfolio) are planned to be attracted through a loan agreement.[4]

Mikhail Molchanov, noting that the renewable energy industry is the fastest growing in the world energy sector, told journalists that “the current small share in the Russian energy mix does not reflect the real scale of the funds and efforts that are invested in the development of renewable energy capacities in Russia.”

Read also : Updated renewable energy tender in Russia: 1.9 GW of wind power and 625.2 MW of solar power capacities by 2022

Current leader of the solar power market in Russia is the holding Hevel with 12 solar power plants reaching a total capacity of 100 MW and currently operating on the national wholesale electricity and capacity market. Its subsidiary, Avelar Solar Technology, controls the operational activities of the solar power stations, located in three Russian regions[5] :

  • The Republic of Altai (15 MW)
  • The Republic of Bashkortostan (35 MW)
  • The Orenburg oblast (50 MW)

Avelar Solar Technology claims to have a solar project portfolio amounting to 364 MW, 100 MW of which are already built.[6]

Industrial partnership with China

On May 5, 2017, Mikhail Lisyansky, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Solar Systems, and Nan Cunfei, the founder of Universal Energy Co. Ltd (Chinese PV modules manufacturer), signed an agreement on the construction of solar power stations in Russia and on participation in selection of investment projects for renewable energy facilities. Both parties already signed a Memorandum of Understanding on May 31, 2016.[7]

The cooperation includes the joint supply of solar modules, purchase of equipment, construction and installation works and other services related to the construction of the 75 MW solar power farm in Samara.

China is now the largest solar panels manufacturer.[8] In this context, the development of solar power capacities in Russia is an opportunity for both countries to work together on new energy issues and related technology in the framework of their economic strategic partnership.

The renewable energy share in the Russian energy mix should reach 5.5 GW by 2024 : 3.3 GW of wind power, 1.76 GW of solar power and 425.4 MW of hydro power capacities (stations of up to 25 MW).

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© Copyright 2017 – Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs.

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[3] Китайская компания купила недостроенные СЭС в Астрахани, 13.04.2017 :