The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has agreed to finance a 100 MW solar PV plant with $60 million in the Navoi region of Uzbekistan. The project, which is described by the lender as one of the first two privately owned renewable energy projects in the country, is owned by the special purpose vehicle Nur Navoi Solar Holding and will be developed by UAE-based Masdar, which is a unit of Mubadala Investment Company, an investment holding fully owned by the government of Abu Dhabi.

“This innovative financial structure is currently not available from international or domestic lenders in Uzbekistan,” said the EBRD in a press release. “It will be complemented by a financial package of up to US$60 million arranged by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).” The World Bank is also providing a $5.1 million payment guarantee to backstop the payment obligations under the project.

Uzbekistan is targeting 5 GW of PV installations by 2031 as it aims to cover 21 per cent of its energy demand with renewables. Currently, gas accounts for almost 76 per cent of its electricity demand, while fuel oil and coal account for 7 per cent and 6per cent, respectively. Overall, the country’s total power generation capacity stands at around 12.6 GW.

A series of planned tenders up to 2022 will kick off with a 1.4 GW procurement round this year that will aim to secure 600 MW of PV capacity across Jizzakh, Samarkand and Surxondaryo plus 800 MW in other locations. The tender program, which will award successful developers 25-year power purchase agreements, will be backed by international lenders including the Asian Development Bank, the World Bank and the EBRD.

REGlobal’s Views: Uzbekistan has been a latecomer in the solar power market. However, it has significantly high potential for solar power. With solar equipment prices at an all time low, this is the best time for the country to push solar power development.