Al Kharsaah is an 800MW photovoltaic (PV) power project located in the Al-Kharsaah area of Qatar. It is owned by Siraj Energy, Marubeni and Total. It is under the build, own, operate and transfer (BOOT) model for a period of 25 years.
The licence to own and operate the project will expire after the 25-year term and the power plant’s ownership will be transferred to Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation Kahramaa.
The financial closure of the project was announced in May 2020 and construction commenced in July 2020. It was developed with an investment of approximately $462.3m (QR1.7bn).
The project was developed in two 400MW phases and was inaugurated in October 2022.
The power plant can supply 10% of the country’s peak energy consumption and help to avoid 26 million tonnes of carbon emissions over its operational life. It also reduces the reliance on gas for power generation, diversifying Qatar’s power sources.
Al Kharsaah solar power project development
Total and Marubeni won the solar project through a competitive tender process. Kahramaa received five competitive bids for project development.
Total, Siraj Energy and Marubeni formed a special purpose company, Siraj 1, to build, operate and manage the project. Marubeni holds a 20.4% stake in Siraj 1 while Total and Siraj Energy own 19.6% and 60% interests respectively. Siraj Energy is a joint venture of Qatar Electricity & Water Company (60%) and Qatar Petroleum (40%).
Al Kharsaah is Total’s biggest solar project to date and Marubeni’s third large-scale solar PV independent power project (IPP) in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region.
The project partners and the Ministry of Municipality and Environment studied the environmental aspects of the solar power plant development.
Al Kharsaah power project location and details
The solar power plant was developed in the Al-Kharsaah area on a 10km² of land, located 80km west of Doha, Qatar. The plant uses 1.8 million bifacial solar modules with trackers, which benefit from the high level of sunlight available in the area.
The Al-Kharsaah solar power project applies the latest solar energy technologies, including dual panels, to save space and optimise electricity production by capturing the direct sun rays, as well as the rays reflected on the ground.
The power plant also features automated systems for sun-tracking and robotic cleaning of solar panels to help increase production efficiency and reduce the plant’s operational expenses. It is fitted with a 1,500V inverter solution featuring IP66&C5 protection standards, which enables it to withstand harsh desert environments.
Power purchase agreement
In January 2020, Kahramaa signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Siraj 1 to procure electricity from the power plant. Kahramaa is Qatar’s transmission and distribution system owner and operator (TDSOO).
Kahramaa hired consulting firm EY as lead and financial advisor.
DLA Piper served as legal advisor while Poyry Switzerland, a consulting and engineering company, provided technical advisory services.
Hitachi Energy, a technology company, provided a 220kV grid connection solution, which included detailed engineering and equipment.
Construction company PowerChina Guizhou Engineering provided construction services.
Sungrow, an inverter and energy storage system supplier for renewables, supplied the inverter solution for the project.
Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute provided data and solar forecasting resources, which were used during the engineering and construction of the project.
Project finance advisor Operis served as the auditor for the Marubeni and Total consortium.
Marubeni’s renewable energy projects in the MENA region
Marubeni is strategically shifting from coal-fired power generation to the renewable energy generation business. In September 2018, the company pledged not to develop new coal-fired power generation projects.
Marubeni also aims to cut its net coal power generating capacity from 3GW to 1.5GW by 2030. The company is expanding its renewable power generation portfolio in the MENA region through several large-scale solar projects.
Marubeni and its partners developed the 1,177MW Sweihan solar power plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The company owns a 20% equity partnership in the project.
The company also built the first large-scale Amin solar PV IPP in Oman. In February 2019, Marubeni and its project partners signed a 23-year power purchase agreement with Petroleum Development Oman for the electricity supply from the plant.