Afghanistan kicks off tender for another 40 MW solar project

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From pv magazine International.

Afghanistan’s Ministry of Energy & Water has issued a tender for a 40 MW solar project at an unspecified location in Herat province, in the northern part of the country.

The project will be developed under the World Bank’s Scaling Solar initiative with the backing of the multilateral lender’s private finance arm the International Finance Corporation (IFC).

The plant will be built on a public-private partnership basis with the selected developer securing the right to develop, finance, construct, own, operate, maintain and transfer the facility, the Afghan government stated in the tender document.

Interested bidders have until November 5 to pre-qualify for the procurement exercise.

2020 solar ambition

The project is part of the country’s plan to deploy 500 MW of solar generation capacity by next year. That ambition includes other tendered plants such as a 40 MW facility at the Hisar-e-Shahi Industrial Park in Nanagrahar. In May 2018, a previous 40 MW solar tender – held by the IFC for a project at the same industrial park – was awarded to Chinese battery manufacturer Shuangdeng Group for almost $60 million (Rs424 crore).

The Ministry of Energy & Water issued a series of tenders for hybrid solar plants last year. The last, in June, was for a 5 MW facility and those plants followed tenders for three hybrid solar projects – with a total capacity of 65 MW – in September 2017. The earlier three projects, together with the 5 MW hybrid project in Ghor, are part of a plan approved by Afghanistan’s High Economic Council in March 2017 to deploy 65 MW of hybrid projects.

Afghanistan’s renewable energy policy aims for 4-5 GW of new generation capacity by 2030.