Small Italian companies are the first to break ground on the Middle-East’s newest solar market, Iran. Their plan is to build 1 GW of solar farms in the next 10 years.
After the lifting of sanctions on Iran’s economy last year, European companies are slowly but steadily rediscovering the markets of Iran. One that bears great potential is without doubt Iran’s solar market. But it wasn’t the big players that got a head start on this promising sun-drenched area. Instead, little-known solar companies from Italy, Genesis and Denikon, have signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the development of 100 solar plants of 10MW each in Iran’s northwestern Qazvin province, over the next decade.
Mohammad Ali Qasemi, who is the Deputy-head of Qazvin’s Provincial Investment Headquarters for Services, announced the agreement last week. He confirmed that „the power plants will cost $1.5bn funded fully by foreign investors“. According to Solarserver, Genesis will also be investing in waste-to-power infrastructure in Qazvin, while Denikon might start handling project development.
Another MoU has been confirmed between Carlo Maresca, of Pescara, Abruzzo and Iran’s officials for the construction of a 50 MW plant on the island of Qeshm. The deals follow Italy’s Prime Minister, Matteo Renzi’s visit to Teheran in April.
Italian companies’ popularity with Iranian politicians may trace back to the fact that, throughout the years, Italy maintained trade ties with Iran even after relations between Iran and other Western nations had cooled off. For Iranian decision makers Italy seemed to be the first point of contact after opening up to the West.
German developers see “huge sales opportunity” in Iran
In the race for conquering Iranian renewable energy markets, it is Germany that seems to be running a close second. According to Bloomberg, German developers are financing a 1.25 solar plant near Teheran and are following further opportunities in PV. Berlin-based industry group, BSW solar, told Bloomberg that German solar firms had “huge sales” opportunity in Iran.
Iran’s so far underdeveloped solar-market bears enormous potential. 80% of Iran’s territory are suited for solar power with an average of 300 days of sunshine a year and solar irradiation in those regions between 1640 to over 2000 kWh/m2 annually. But despite all the euphoria, Josefin Berg, senior analyst for solar demand at IHS Technology, still advises developers to “treat the Iranian market with caution. It’s still complicated to do business in Iran” as the development of new projects may take a while, she said.
Solarserver, Bloomberg, PV-Magazine