ADB supports first solar power PPP in Uzbekistan
Project to help government meet target of 25% renewable energy capacity by 2030
6 Jan 2021 | Michael Marray

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Nur Navoi Solar Foreign Enterprise Limited Liability Company (NNS) have signed loans of US$17.5 million for a 100MW solar power plant in Uzbekistan. It is the first public-private partnership (PPP) renewable energy project in the country.

The financing package for the plant, to be built near Navoi City in central Uzbekistan, includes a loan from ADB and a loan from the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia II (CFPS II), which will be administered by ADB. The agreements were signed in Tashkent on December 23. 

NNS will provide its energy output to the National Electric Grid of Uzbekistan under a 25-year power purchase agreement.

“As the first major private sector renewables investment in Uzbekistan, Navoi Solar is a landmark transaction in many ways,” says Ashok Lavasa, ADB vice president for private sector operations and public–private partnerships  “The project will significantly help the government in meeting its target of at least 25% renewable energy capacity by 2030.”

Uzbekistan is reliant on fossil fuels with most of its electricity supplied by natural gas. Its aging power grid results in high transmission and distribution losses.

ADB is also financing the construction of a high-voltage transmission line to strengthen the country’s electricity grid and the installation of advanced metering systems.

The project is in line with ADB’s country partnership strategy (2019–2023) for Uzbekistan, which stresses the bank's private sector financing support for renewable energy.

NNS is a special purpose vehicle owned by United Arab Emirates-based Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company Private – Masdar, a global leader in renewable energy. Masdar has developed utility-scale, grid-tied projects, small-scale applications providing energy access to communities away from the electricity grid, and carbon abatement projects.

The ADB loan package includes a concessional finance tranche, funded by CFPS II, to support a lower-than-expected power tariff for the project and will help in demonstrating the commercial feasibility of solar projects as the country shifts to clean energy.

CFPS II, managed and administered by ADB, was established in 2017 by the Government of Canada to encourage private investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in Asia and the Pacific.