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PV interest in Uzbekistan increases

25 September 2012

http://www.pv-magazine.com of 9/25/2012 - Several large photovoltaic power plants are expected to be built in Uzbekistan soon, with the participation of both local and foreign investors.

The country's largest energy producer, state-owned Uzbekenergo, has told pv magazine it is planning to install a series of photovoltaic power plants totaling 2 GW over the next several years. The majority of funds for the project will be allocated from the company's own sources, as well as the Asian Development Bank.

According to Muzaffar Mukhiddinov, head of Uzbekenergo's department of development, the first plant is expected to be built in the Tashkent region and will have a capacity of 50 MW. Around $250 million is expected to be invested in the project. Construction of the other photovoltaic plants, meanwhile, will be commenced later.

In addition to domestic companies, local media has reported that foreign investors have also expressed an interest in installing photovoltaic plants in Uzbekistan, including Norway's REC, India-based BHEL and Russia's Lukoil. Reportedly, the capacity of each plant is expected to be 100 MW. The companies declined to reveal any further details to pv magazine, however.

Uzbekistan has favorable climatic conditions for the development of photovoltaic power, with around 2,000 hours of sunshine annually in the northern part of the country, and more than 3000 hours in the south.

In an interview with pv magazine this March, Seethapathy Chander, from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) said that the bank is working with the Uzbekistan government to re-write the existing regulatory regime, and to compile a comprehensive study of the solar possibilities, in order to help project developers in the future.

"We are in the process of identifying  six areas in Uzbekistan where it is possible to develop 1,000 MW on each," explained Chander. While the country, to date, has a negligible cumulative installed solar capacity, he believes that over the next five years, these areas have the potential to be fitted out with six GW worth of photovoltaic systems.