20 December 2017
First Solar to power first utility-scale project in Pakistan
First Solar Inc of Tempe, AZ, USA – which makes cadmium telluride (CdTe)-based thin-film photovoltaic modules as well as providing engineering, procurement & construction (EPC) services – is supplying over 860,000 modules to power a 100MWAC utility-scale solar power plant developed by Zorlu Enerji in Pakistan. The Independent Power Producer (IPP) facility, part of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in the country’s Punjab province, is expected to be completed and connected to the electricity grid by first-half 2018.
When completed, the plant will increase Zorlu Enerji’s installed capacity in the country to 156.4MW (a portfolio that includes a 56.4MW wind farm completed in 2013). The facility will generate an estimated 180 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year (sufficient to power about 140,000 average homes) for Pakistan’s Central Power Purchasing Agency, under a 25-year power purchase agreement (PPA).
“First Solar’s advanced PV modules will thrive in Bahawalpur’s desert conditions, delivering over 8% more energy than conventional crystalline-silicon panels, and enabling our successful bid for a PPA,” believes Zorlu Enerji’s CEO Sinan Ak. “We will set a new benchmark for solar energy in Pakistan. This project will be a new milestone for the development of utility-scale solar in the country,” he adds.
“This project is part of a pivotal move by Pakistan to secure its energy independence by harnessing its solar resource,” comments Stefan Degener, First Solar’s head of business development for Europe and Africa.
In February, First Solar and Zorlu Holding signed a collaborative sales agreement under which Zorlu Solar became a major distributor of First Solar’s modules in Turkey, Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, and the Commonwealth of Independent States. In addition to selling PV modules in these markets, Zorlu Solar is undertaking its own project development activity, powering its projects with First Solar technology.
“This deal demonstrates Zorlu Group’s ability to enable our sales strategy by expanding First Solar’s installed capacity well beyond our existing markets,” says Degener. “It also proves that our high-performance technology and Zorlu Group’s commercial expertise makes for a winning combination in any of the 26 markets covered by our agreement,” he adds.