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Two Solar Power Plants Launched in Hamedan

Two Solar Power Plants Launched in HamedanTwo Solar Power Plants Launched in Hamedan

Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian on Saturday launched two 7 megawatt solar power plants in Hamedan Province, 330 kilometers west of Tehran.

"The renewable industry in Iran is among the slowest-growing sectors," Chitchian said, stressing that barely 200 MW in renewable power has come on stream over the past two decades, IRNA reported Saturday.

The plants were developed by the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran, known as SUNA, at an estimated cost of $17 million. Elaborating on the plan, he said the much-needed equipment to develop the solar plants, such as low voltage panels, were manufactured domestically. Chitchian also broke ground on another 7 MW solar project in Hamedan Saturday.

Recalling policy to expand electricity production from renewable sources to 7,500 MW by 2030, the minister said the renewable sector is still risky for investment because it demands costly and thorough research before building the infrastructure "that may or may not prove to be economically viable."

Iran's power industry is based mainly on fossil fuels, which explains why senior decision and policy makers in the energy sector have paid close to zero attention to renewable technologies over the past four decades.

Almost 62,000 MW, or 80% of Iran's 75,000-MW output, is generated from thermal plants that burn fossil fuels. An estimated 12,000 MW comes from hydroelectric plants and 1,000 MW from the sole nuclear power plant in Bushehr. According to latest published data, installed power generation capacity from all forms of renewable energies, including wind and solar, is 240 megawatts.

The minister added that plans are in place to invest $3 billion in renewable power projects in the near future, but did not provide details. Since the lifting of international sanctions a year ago, Tehran has held talks with European companies, including from Germany and the UK, to develop its nascent renewable industry.

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