The 800MW Al Kharsaah photovoltaic (PV) power project is the first large-scale solar power plant being developed in Qatar.

The project will be owned by Siraj Energy, Marubeni and Total, 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 ownership of the power plant will be transferred to Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation Kahramaa.

The financial closure of the project is expected in May 2020. With the estimated investment of approximately $462.3m (QR1.7bn), the project will be developed in multiple phases. The 350MW first phase will be grid-connected by the first quarter of 2021 and the project is expected to be fully commissioned in April 2022.

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.

“The 350MW first phase will be grid-connected by the first quarter of 2021 and the project is expected to be fully commissioned in April 2022.”

Total, Siraj Energy and Marubeni formed a special purpose company Siraj1 to build, operate and manage the project. Marubeni holds a 20.4% stake in Siraj1, 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.

In January 2020, Kahramaa signed a 25-year power purchase agreement with Siraj 1 to procure electricity from the power plant. Kahramaa is the transmission and distribution system owner and operator (TDSOO) of Qatar.

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 will be developed in the Al-Kharsaah area on a 10km² of land, located 80km west of Doha, Qatar. The plant will use more than two million bifacial solar modules with trackers. It will benefit from the high level of sunlight available in the area.

The Al-Kharsaah solar power project will apply latest solar energy technologies, including dual panels to save space, automated systems for sun-tracking and robotic cleaning of solar panels to help increase production efficiency and reduce the plant’s operational expenses.

Contractors involved

Kahramaa hired EY as lead and financial advisor. DLA Piper served as legal advisor, while Pöyry Switzerland provided technical advisory services.

Project benefits

The total capacity of the project will be able to meet 10% of the peak electricity demand in the country. The project will serve the objective of Qatar National Vision 2030 and contribute to the country’s commitment to host a carbon-neutral FIFA World Cup in 2022.

The plant will reduce 26 million tonnes of CO₂ during its lifetime, supporting the country’s aim to achieve carbon emissions reduction of one million tonnes a year until 2022.

The project will contribute to the goal of sustainable development and reduce the reliance on gas for power generation.

Marubeni’s renewable energy projects in 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 are developing the 1,177MW Sweihan solar power plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The company owns a 20% equity partnership in the project.

The company is building 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. The 105MW project is expected to start commercial operations in May 2020.

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