Swiss-German Solar Venture Set for Launch in Kerman

Oil- and gas-rich Iran has accelerated efforts to increase the trifling share of renewables energies in its power mix
Rows of photovoltaic panels at Mokran Solar Power Complex in Mahan, Kerman Province (Photo: Javad Esmaeilzadeh)
Rows of photovoltaic panels at Mokran Solar Power Complex in Mahan, Kerman Province (Photo: Javad Esmaeilzadeh)

A photovoltaic power project is scheduled for launch later this week in the city of Mahan, Kerman Province, marking the completion of a Swiss-German venture in the Iranian renewable industry after last year's lifting of sanctions.

The Mokran Solar Power Complex is planned to become operational on July 27 in a ceremony that will be attended by Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian, Mokran Solar Energy Company said in a statement.

Switzerland-based company Durion Energy AG, in collaboration with Germany's Adore GmbH, has developed the Mokran solar complex in six months with an investment of $27 million.

The solar units are made up of over 76,000 tiny photovoltaic cells with 260-watt capacity mounted on 27,000 metal poles in an area of about 44 hectares (440,000 sq. meters).

Durion Energy constructs, manufactures and distributes components and systems used to generate and store renewable energy. The company is based in Dudingen, Switzerland.

Mokran Solar Energy Company, the project's general contractor, is fully owned by Durion, a company spokesperson told Financial Tribune on the phone.

Chitchian is also expected to break ground on a major 100-MW solar plant the same day. The plant will be built between the cities of Kerman to Bam, 190 kilometers south of the provincial capital.

Kerman Province has reportedly housed the largest solar power infrastructure in Iran and the new 100-MW photovoltaic project will further cement its status as a leading region in promoting renewables.

--- Renewable Potential

Kerman is located on a high margin of Kavir-e Lut, a large salt desert, in the south-central part of Iran.

The country has grappled with a worsening drought and increasing temperatures over the last decade and Kerman has not been spared. But officials see a huge potential to harness the hot and dry climate for power generation.

In the larger picture, the oil- and gas-rich nation has accelerated efforts in recent years to increase the trifling share of renewables, including wind and solar, in its power mix.

Thermal plants that burn fossil fuels make up more than 80% of Iran's installed power capacity of around 76,000 MW. The share of renewables stands at a meager 240 MW.

The country has opened up its economic gateways to international investors since sanctions imposed over its nuclear dispute were lifted in early 2016.

Chitchian said in a statement this month that foreign investors have submitted investment proposals worth a total of $3.6 billion to develop renewable projects in Iran. He did not specify a timeframe.

According to the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, plans are in place to launch 5,000 MW in new renewable capacity, including solar and wind, by 2022.


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