Masdar agrees deal with Armenian state fund to develop up to $320m of solar projects

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Abu Dhabi company and Armenian National Interests Fund identify opportunities for 400MW of solar and wind projects

Michael Fahy

Masdar signed a joint development agreement with the Armenian National Interests Fund to develop solar projects with a total capacity of 400 megawatts, an investment of $300-$320 million (Dh1.1 billion-Dh1.17bn).

The company, an arm of Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment firm, Mubadala Investment Company, completed the joint agreement following the signing of a memorandum of understanding with ANIF in July, covering the origination, development, construction, operation and maintenance of renewables, including fixed and floating solar PV and wind energy projects.

“Armenia is a fast-growing economy with an increasingly open and supportive environment for inward investment. That is an important reason why we have been able to move forward in our partnership with ANIF so swiftly,” said Masdar’s chief executive, Mohamed Al Ramahi.

The first project planned under the agreement is a 200MW utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the west of Armenia that will use new bi-facial technology to produce electricity from both direct and reflected sunlight.

Armenia has pledged to generate 30 per cent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2025 and has the potential to integrate as much as 1,000MW of solar energy. Today it has around 2,800MW of installed power capacity, evenly distributed between nuclear, hydro and thermal generation from imported natural gas.

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

“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. 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,” Mr Al Ramahi added.

Armenia has some small and mid-size solar PV plants already in operation, with a combined capacity of 50MW. It has also issued licences for the construction of a further 250MW, and has a total of 700MW planned.

“Masdar and ANIF are making good on their promise to deliver industrial-scale renewable energy projects in Armenia,” said David Papazian, chief executive of ANIF.

“Our two teams have gelled as a single unit over the past few months, and I am happy to report that we have sent a highly competitive written proposal to the Government of Armenia which outlines the details of the 400MW of solar PV that we are jointly proposing.”

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