UK to Build Solar Plant in Iran

UK to Build Solar Plant in Iran
UK to Build Solar Plant in Iran

Tehran has handed over the construction of a solar power plant to a British company for the first time, an official at Iran Power Generation, Distribution and Transmission Company (Tavanir) revealed.

"Bakhtar Regional Electricity Company, a subsidiary of Tavanir, and the British Surrey Satellite Technology LTD signed a contract on building a solar electricity plant in Iran," Farhad Shabihi, managing director of BREC, told Mehr News Agency.

"Based on the $1-million contract, the SSTL is entitled to design, manufacture, install and operate a solar power plant, the production capacity of which would be 50 megawatts," Shabihi said.

Announcing that the project is to be completed by September 2016 according to the timetable, he said the company intends to sign similar contracts with foreign companies to build more solar plants in Markazi, Lorestan and Hamedan provinces, which will generate 600 MW of electricity.

Shabihi noted that the agreement with Britons is the first step to develop the country's renewable energy by foreign investment, adding that establishment of another solar power plant will be started in Hamedan in the near future.

Abdolrasoul Pishahang, a deputy at Tavanir, earlier said Iran's electric output from renewable energy sources such as wind and solar account for less than 2% of the country's total power production capacity.

The country's diverse climate allows it to exploit natural energy sources for power production, including from geothermal energy in northwestern Ardabil Province and wind in Sistan-Baluchestan Province in the southeast.

To expand power production infrastructure from renewables, Iran has turned to European powerhouse Germany that produces 90,000 megawatts from renewables, more than Iran's total power generation capacity of 74,000 MW.

Germany has increased its renewable energy generation by almost five times in the last decade.

"Considering technical and engineering abilities of Iranian workforce, the SSTL will, based on the terms of the contract, use most of the equipment for constructing the plant from domestic sources," Shabihi said.

"For every 100 MW added capacity of renewable power production, about 100 million liters of liquefied fuel will be saved annually."

Iran’s electricity industry ranks 14th in the world and first in the Middle East in terms of electricity generation with an installed power generation capacity of 72,000 MW. The country is the largest exporter and importer of electricity in the Middle East and exports electricity to Armenia, Pakistan, Turkey, Iraq and Afghanistan. Azerbaijan and Armenia supply electricity to Iran under a swap agreement. According to published reports, thermal power plants contribute 61,000 MW of Iran's total power production capacity, 12,000 MW by hydroelectric plants and only 1,000 MW by nuclear plants.

The Persian Gulf country plans to raise total power generation capacity to more than 125,000 MW in a 10-year timeframe.