December 2, 2019 - 10:49 AMT
UAE firm to invest $300-320 mln to develop solar projects in Armenia

Abu Dhabi-based Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies and a subsidiary of Mubadala, has entered into a formal agreement with the Armenian National Interests Fund (Anif), a state-owned foreign direct investment vehicle, to develop 400 MW solar power projects in Armenia with an investment of $300-320 million, Al Bawaba reports.

The first project being under the joint development agreement (JDA) is a 200MW utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the west of Armenia that will use cutting-edge bifacial technology to produce electricity from both direct and reflected sunlight.

"As a global renewable energy leader active in more than 25 countries, and with a growing presence in Central Asia, Masdar has extensive experience in developing commercially successful projects in solar, wind, waste to energy and sustainable real estate," said Masdar CEO Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi after signing the deal with Anif CEO David Papazian at a private ceremony held in Abu Dhabi.

"As today’s signing illustrates, we are eager to explore the many ways in which we can share this experience and expertise with our partners in Armenia, a country with considerable untapped potential for both solar and wind power," he added.

A full member of the Masdar City-headquartered International Renewable Energy Agency (Irena), since 2010, Armenia has pledged to generate more than a quarter of its domestic power needs from renewable sources and hopes to cap its carbon emissions at 633 million metric tonnes of CO2 equivalent between 2015 and 2050.

It has pledged to generate 30 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and has the potential to integrate as much as 1,000MW of solar energy.

Today the country has around 2,800MW of installed power capacity, evenly distributed between nuclear, hydro and thermal generation from imported natural gas.

Armenia has small and mid-size solar PV plants already in operation, with a combined capacity of 50MW, another 250MW worth of solar projects licensed for construction, and a total of 700MW planned, said Papazian.

"Masdar and ANIF are making good on their promise to deliver industrial-scale renewable energy projects in Armenia," he added.

Armenia receives an estimated 1,720 kilowatt-hours (kWh) of solar energy per sq m, compared with an average of 1,000kWh per sq m in Europe. Many of Armenia’s 200-plus rivers and lakes are also suitable for floating solar power projects, he added.