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TASHKENT (TCA) — Uzbekistan’s first-ever small solar power plant with a capacity of 130 KW has been launched in a test mode in the Pap district of the Namangan province, Uzbekistan’s state energy company Uzbekenergo said on December 29.   

The power plant has been constructed in cooperation with South Korean partners and equipped with Korean equipment.   

The commissioning of the plant will help improve the electricity supplies to the area, as well as test Korean solar modules that would be used in other, large-scale solar energy projects in Uzbekistan, Uzbekenergo said.   

Uzbekenergo is currently implementing the project to build a 100 megawatt grid-connected crystalline photovoltaic power plant in the Samarkand province of Uzbekistan. The plant is to be constructed by March 2019.

Uzbekistan has received a loan totaling $110 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) towards the cost of the Samarkand Solar Power Project. This contract will be jointly financed by the ADB and the Fund for Reconstruction and Development of Uzbekistan.

According to ADB President Takehiko Nakao, this project will be the largest of its kind in Central Asia and one of the largest in the world.

The Samarkand Solar Power Project will help Uzbekistan — one of the most energy and carbon intensive countries in the world — tackle power outages, diversify its energy sources, and cut greenhouse gas emissions, the ADB reported. Nearly 90% of the country’s power is currently generated from fossil fuel-based plants and require major investments to replace or upgrade. The aging power network also suffers from high losses and the supply-demand gap has become acute in some areas including Samarkand.

Uzbekistan has high solar energy irradiance and the plant, which will use state-of-the-art photovoltaic technology, will help the Government of Uzbekistan expand the use of renewable energy in its power mix. The government is aiming to generate about 21% of all its energy needs from renewable sources, including solar, by 2031.

ADB’s assistance will come from its Asian Development Fund. Counterpart financing of $200 million is being extended by Uzbekistan’s Fund for Reconstruction and Development and by Uzbekenergo.

Uzbekenergo plans to build several solar power plants with a total capacity of 2 GW.  

Uzbekistan’s solar energy potential is estimated at 50.9 billion tons of oil equivalent.

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