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Chinese firm to build Uzbek solar panel plant

Suntech Power Holdings Co. plans to establish a solar panel factory in Uzbekistan, according to data published by the republic’s economics ministry on 4 February

Uzbekistan’s solar energy potential is estimated at 50.9 bn tons of oil equivalent or 99.7 per cent of all renewable energy sources surveyed in the republic

China’s “largest producer of solar panels in the world”, Suntech and Uzbekistan’s state energy company Uzbekenergo have signed a memorandum for a solar panel factory in the Navoiy free industrial and economic zone.

Uzbekistan is investing heavily in solar power, and has already attracted other foreign investors. Tashkent inaugurated a new solar research institute in February 2012, in cooperation with the Asia Development Bank (ADB), the bank said.

Uzbekistan also plans to build several solar-based electric power plants with a capacity of over 2 GW, according to earlier reports. Those plants will be financed by Uzbenergo and loans from the ADB and other international financial organizations.

In 2012, Uzbekenergo started designing a 50 MW capacity solar electric power station in the Tashkent region, to generate 110 million KWh of power annually. The project, with estimated cost of USD 250 million, will be financed with a USD 90m loan from the ADB and investment from Uzbekistan.

Russian oil major LUKoil has also presented proposals for building a solar plant in Uzbekistan, in a joint program with the ADB and the Uzbekistan government.

Uzbekistan said in December 2012 it was extending tax exemptions to enterprises with a minimum 30 per cent direct private foreign investment in 20 industries, including construction of renewable energy power stations.

Uzbekistan’s solar energy potential is estimated at 50.9 bn tons of oil equivalent or 99.7 per cent of all renewable energy sources surveyed in the republic. The country is currently heavily reliant on coal and gas, according to its energy ministry.