Norwegian firm signs $2.9 billion deal to develop 2GW solar farms in Iran
Norwegian solar panel maker Saga Energy signed a deal worth $2.9 billion with Iran's state-owned company Amin Energy Developers to develop solar farms around the country totaling 2GW of installed capacity.
Reportedly, Gaute Steinkopf, a Saga Energy consultant who took part in the negotiations, the deal was signed on Tuesday at the Tehran residence of Norway's Ambassador to Iran, Lars Nordrum, after 7 months of negotiations.
The solar farms will be located in multiple sites across the central desert region, and it will take Saga Energy around 5 years to complete.
The announcement came nearly one week after US President Donald Trump refused to re-certify the global nuclear deal that Germany, France, US, UK, China, and Russia had signed with Iran after years of negotiations in 2015, lifting long-standing UN-imposed sanctions that had isolated Iran from the international community for years.
Lars Nordrum, Norwegian ambassador told AFP News: “Norway is fully committed to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, - the nuclear deal, and this is proof that we have taken the opening very seriously, and we will see more investment very soon”.
Last July, US imposed new sanctions on Iran over missile tests and invited European allies to halt their financial dealings with the country.
However, the new solar deal is being financed by a consortium of European private and state investors and is backed by a sovereign guarantee from the Government of Iran, most likely from most likely from Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Organization, as reported by PV Magazine.
Gaute Steinkopf, Saga’s Development Manager also revealed the company’s intentions to deepen business relations with the country by saying: “We hope to build a factory in Iran to build the panels so that we are also generating jobs”.
Saeid Zakeri, Head of International Affairs for Amin Energy Developers said: “I’d like to thank Norway, which has always been one of the best friends to Iran, for this exciting opportunity”.
In 2014, Iran set an ambitious goal to install 5GW of renewables by 2022 and has set significantly attractive Feed-in Tariffs to attract investment for large-scale solar.
Since the lift of the sanctions in January 2016, Iran has increased its international business activity, with solar playing an important role in the attraction of foreign investment due to the country’s high solar potential.
British investment firm Quercus has embarked on the development of a 600MW solar plant is, with multiple global investors galvanising Iran’s solar momentum.