By Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs, for Eurasia Network – June 5, 2017

Соль-Илецкую СЭС мощностью 25 МВт - Photo credits - Rusnano

Sol-Iletskaya solar farm (25 MW), Orenburg region, Russia – Source : Rusnano, May 2017 

Corporate group Hevel, Russian leader of solar energy, has launched a new 25 MW solar power plant in the Orenburg region, in Southwestern Russia. Thus, the installed generation capacity owned by Hevel group in the region amounts to 50 MW and the total capacity of all its solar farms across Russia now reaches 100 MW, according to a press release. This achievement was announced just before the beginning of the competitive tender on renewable energy capacities in Russia which is held from May 29th until June 9th and which projects 625.2 MW of solar power capacities by 2022.

Igor Shakhrai, General Director of Hevel group, stated :

“The Sol-Iletskaya solar power station [1] is made of solar modules manufactured in our production plant in Novocheboksarsk, Chuvash Republic. Moreover, auxiliary equipment was delivered by Russian companies from the electrical and metalworking industries. This solar farm is the largest in Russia with all equipment locally produced.”

Moreover, a wind farm with seven turbines already generates electricity next to the new solar station, while a biogas plant would be launched nearby, stated the Governor of the region Yuri Berg during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017.

Upgraded solar cells

Hevel group recently invested in new industrial capacities. Indeed, the production line in Novocheboksarsk was upgraded in April 2017 in order to manufacture heterojunction solar cells[2] which have an increased conversion efficiency of 22% and an individual capacity of 300-310 W. Annual production output is expected to grow from 97.5 MW to 160 MW and to further expand up to 400 MW, reported the TASS press agency.

Read also: China invests in Russian solar power

Last February, Viktor Vekselberg, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Renova Group, stated during a meeting with Mikhail Ignatiev, Governor of the Chuvash Republic, that production of new solar cells was to start in April 2017.

We will launch an upgraded production of solar panels, which will be more competitive in terms of conversion efficiency. This is a great prospect as we will export solar panels and expand the production of alternative energy for export” said Viktor Vekselberg.

A region leading in solar energy

The Orenburg region is one of the leading places in the development of Russian solar energy. Indeed, the first solar station was built in May 2015 with a capacity of 5 MW (Perevolotskaya solar farm). This first plant generated more than 7,000 MW/h since November 2015, reports Hevel group. In addition, Pleshanovskaya and Grachevskaya solar farms were launched in February 2017, each with a capacity of 10 MW.

Besides, Hevel group intends to build five new solar power plants in the region by 2019, for a global cost of $ 176,5 million, according to Igor Shakhrai.[3] Facilities will be located in the Perevolotsky, Aleksandrovsky, Saraktash, Dombarovo and Orenburg districts. Once these projects are achieved, the total capacity of solar power stations in the region will reach 140 MW.

Finally, the Governor of the Orenburg region stated during the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum 2017 that the total regional solar power capacity would amount to 200 MW by 2020.

Hevel group was founded in 2009 through a joint venture of Renova group and Rusnano and is the Russian leader in the solar energy sector. The corporate group is mainly engaged in manufacture of solar modules, construction and operation of solar farms, as well as research activities. The manufacture plant in the Republic of Chuvashia produces solar cells using thin-film and heterojunction technology while a Science and Technology Center in St. Petersburg focuses on research and development in solar energy.

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

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Notes : 

[1] Соль-Илецкая СЭС