Uzbekistan Signs Loan Agreements for Its First Solar Plant

The Uzbek government signed loan and guarantee agreements with three development banks to finance construction of the Central Asian nation’s first solar photovoltaic power plant.

The World Bank’s International Finance Corporation and Asian Development Bank will lend up to $60 million for the 100-megawatt plant that will be built in the central Navoi region by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co., or Masdar, the World Bank said in an emailed statement. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development will provide an equity bridge loan of up to $60 million to Masdar for the construction and operation of the plant.

The World Bank will also provide a $5.1 million payment guarantee for the Uzbek government to backstop payment obligations of the project.

The plant, which will occupy a 286-hectares of land 35 kilometers east of the city of Navoi, will produce 270 gigawatt-hours per year of electricity, enough to power over 31,000 households. The power will be fed directly to the national electric network next year.

Separately, the Uzbek Ministry of Energy said it will start a new project in February for a another solar power plant. The project will consist of three lots with a total capacity of 500 megawatts. One of the lots will include a battery-storage component.

“Following the success of Uzbek Solar 1 and high interest in Uzbek Solar 2, we are happy to announce that the start of this new project is planned for the February 2021, which shows that we are firmly on our way to new, sustainable, clean and diversified energy production in Uzbekistan,” Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov said.

Uzbekistan plans to develop 8 gigawatts of solar and wind power capacity over the next decade to cut dependence on natural gas and reduce carbon dioxide emissions. The plant is expected to contribute to annual reductions of 156,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions once it starts working.

©2020 Bloomberg L.P.

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