The first solar panel of a photovoltaic power station funded by the United Arab Emirates-based Masdar Clean Energy Company was installed in Azerbaijan this week.
The announcement came from the Energy Minister of Azerbaijan Parviz Shahbazov on Tuesday.
“The first solar panel was installed at Garadagh SPP [solar power plant] with the participation of the CEO of Masdar Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi. The plant will be put into use by the end of the year,” Shahbazov wrote on Twitter.
The event took place as part of the construction of the 230-MW solar power plant by Masdar in the Garadagh district of the capital Baku.
In January 2020, Masdar signed an implementation agreement to develop a utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) project in the Republic of Azerbaijan. The 230-megawatt (MWac) Garadagh (Area 60) Solar PV Plant is the country’s first foreign investment-based independent utility-scale solar project structured as a public-private partnership.
Masdar signed the Investment Agreement with the government of Azerbaijan and the Power Purchase Agreement and Transmission Connection Agreement with state-run power company Azerenerji in April 2021.
The UAE’s leading developer and operator of utility-scale renewable energy projects Masdar laid the foundation of the $200-million plant in Azerbaijan in March 2022. The top-notch power generation center will reportedly become operational sometime in 2023 as one of the largest foreign investments in Azerbaijan’s renewable energy sector.
The overall energy output of the Garadagh Solar Power Plant is estimated at half a billion kilowatt-hours of electricity per annum, which is enough to supply power to over 110,000 houses. It will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 200,000 tons per annum.
Renewables are expected to make up 30 percent of the country’s electricity generation by 2030. Estimates put the renewable energy potential of Azerbaijan at 37,000 MW, ten thousand of which have been unveiled after the liberation of the country’s territories from the Armenian occupation in 2020.
The potential of wind power stands at 59.2 percent of the overall renewable energy potential of Azerbaijan, according to a report “Market Analysis Azerbaijan 2019” published by the German-Azerbaijani Chamber of Commerce.
According to the same publication, solar power comes in at number two with a total of 8,000 MW potential. Biomass, geothermal, and hydropower (excluding large hydropower stations) are also introduced as promising renewables at 900 MW, 800 MW, and 650 MW, respectively.
Meanwhile, Masdar is not the only Gulf company investing in the renewable energy industry of Azerbaijan. In January 2022, the ground was broken for a wind power plant in Azerbaijan’s Absheron and Khizi districts by ACWA Power, a Saudi energy giant, partly owned by Saudi Arabia’s sovereign Public Investment Fund, which will reportedly invest $300 million in the project. The “Khizi-Absheron” wind power plant is expected to churn out 1 billion kilowatt-hours (kWh) of electricity per annum. The plant will be commercially operable in the third quarter of 2023.