The Asian Development Bank (ADB) will provide a $110m loan from its Asian Development Fund to Uzbekistan for the proposed 100MW Samarkand solar power project.
Uzbekistan's Fund for Reconstruction and Development and Uzbekenergo are extending counterpart financing of $200m.
The project calls for the construction of a grid-connected crystalline PV power plant; institutional capacity building on solar energy to stakeholders including the International Solar Energy Institute; and project management and supervision support to Uzbekenergo to raise its capacity to manage the plant and other solar facilities.
The project is aimed at increasing renewable energy generation and curbing greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) in Uzbekistan that are also prioritized under the ADB Uzbekistan Country Partnership Strategy for 2012-2016.
The project, which is expected to come online in March 2019, will significantly contribute to help the country achieve its vision to become Central Asia's solar technology and knowledge hub.
Uzbekistan has set a 21% renewable energy target by 2031 that includes installing 2GW solar capacity. In this regard, an ADB policy and advisory technical assistance (PATA) is pursuing feasibility studies for six solar power projects, with the Samarkand project being the first one.
The PATA uses energy yield models based on 11-year historical satellite data and validated by ground data for the feasibility studies at the sites, where onsite measurements of solar and weather data are in progress.
Additionally, the PATA also drafted a roadmap for solar development; proposed enabling policy and regulatory frameworks including feed-in-tariffs, renewable portfolio standards, and private sector participation in the medium-term to help the country meet its targets.
The solar development loan forms part of the loan agreements worth $380m between the country and ADB. As part of the agreements, the bank has also agreed to finance rehabilitation of irrigation systems and development of microfinance in the country.