French oil and gas major Total and Japanese company Marubeni are leading a consortium to build an 800MW solar plant in Qatar in time for that country’s hosting of the football World Cup, at what local authorities claim is the lowest price in the world for such a project.
The 800MW Al Kharsaah solar PV project is to be built 80 kilometres west of the country’s capital of Doha, and will feature more than 2 million bifacial solar modules and single-axis tracking, and will provide around 10 per cent of the country’s electricity needs, and cover its requirements for hosting the World Cup in 2022.
The contract to the winning consortium came after Qatar’s first solar tender held by the local utility Kahramaa. Company head Essa bin Hilal Al-Kuwari said the auction attracted 16 bidders and “succeeded in obtaining a competitive unit price for electricity produced from the solar PV Power Plant, which price is currently the lowest in the world for such a project.”
No further details were given and it is impossible to verify the claim, given a range of different projects have claimed to be the world’s lowest. What does appear certain is that the price is well below $US20/MWh, or 2c a kilowatt-hour, and possibly as low as the sub $UD17/MWh agreed in Portugal and Brazil last year.
Qatar’s low labour costs, low cost of financing, a 25-year contract and excellent solar resource would assist such a price.
Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total, in a separate statement described the project as “one of the most competitive … in the world.”
“Al Kharsaah, Total’s largest solar project to date, will contribute to our ambition to deploy 25 GW of renewables by 2025,” he said.
“This project further strengthens our long-term partnership with Qatar in oil, natural gas, refining and petrochemicals and expands it to include renewable energy. It is a very clear symbol of the strategy of Total to become a global energy company.”
The Al Kharsaah project will be developed in at least two phases, with the first 350 MW phase to be completed through the first quarter of 2021 before reaching its full capacity in April of 2022.
The consortium company, Siraj Energy, will develop, construct, operate, and maintain the solar project.
“This project comes in implementation of Qatar’s policy to diversify the production of energy and to increase reliance on and the efficiency of renewable energy, which is a basic cornerstone for a sustainable future for the generations to come,” said H.E. Mr. Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, Qatari Minister of State for Energy Affairs and President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum.