By Swann Bigot, legal expert and consultant in international affairs, for Eurasia Network – October 14, 2017


Solar panels – Source : Pixabay

Hevel Group (a joint venture between Renova and Rusnano) will build three solar power stations with a total capacity of 135 MW in the Astrakhan oblast in 2017-2019 for an investment amounting to more than USD 262 million (RUB 15 billion).

A partnership agreement was signed on October 11 between the company and the regional government, revealed the news agency TASS.

The first solar farm named “Niva” will have a capacity of 15 MW and will be located in the Privolzhsky raion. Construction has already begun. Other solar farms named Funtovskaya and Akhtubinskaya will have each a 60 MW capacity. The total investment from Hevel Group will amount to more than USD 262 million (RUB 15 billion). Furthermore, the Government of the Astrakhan oblast will provide comprehensive information and organizational support for the project.

The total capacity of the solar farms will be at least 135 MW and maybe even 160 MW. This year we want to achieve a 15 MW solar power plant and build about 120 MW of solar power capacity in 2018. […] Investments will be from RUB 15 to 18 billion, over three years”, explained the General Director of Hevel Group Igor Shakhray after the signature of the agreement, reported news agency TASS.

The General Director also stressed that the Astrakhan oblast was chosen by Hevel Group for the construction of solar power plants because it offers “a lot of sun, an opportunity to connect the facilities to power networks and the support of regional authorities who want to develop renewable energy.

Indeed, the Astrakhan oblast is known to be the sunniest region of Southern Russia, with more than 300 sunny days per year and hosts industrial capacities. Therefore, this is an ideal spot to develop solar power.

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Igor Shakhray then added that the Astrakhan oblast will collect annually near USD 26 million (RUB 1.5 billion) of taxes from these three solar farms.

The construction of solar power stations will create new jobs in the Astrakhan oblast, allow local companies to take part in the construction and installation works and will increase the tax revenues of the regional budget.

These renewable energy facilities will be built in compliance with the Decree of the Government of the Russian Federation No. 499, dated 28/05/2013 “On the Mechanism for the Promotion of Renewable Energy on the Wholesale Electricity and Capacity Market”.

Note that the first solar farm of the region opened in the Volodarskiy district last September. The 15 MW solar power plant was built by the company OOO Solar Systems, a 100% subsidiary of the Chinese Amur Sirius Power Equipment Co. In addition, OOO Solar Systems plans to achieve in 2018 another 15 MW solar farm, located in the Narimanovksiy district.

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Hevel Group was founded in 2009 and is now the leader of the Russian market, with solar power projects with a total capacity of 434 MW.

Russia has been actively developing renewable energy sources, such as solar power or wind power since 2013. The country, as one of the key players of the global energy markets, even joined the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in 2015 and is now actively increasing its technological and manufacturing competencies in this sector so that national companies could export their products and services to foreign markets.

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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