First solar parks in Iran completed

23.02.2017
Solar Park Amir Kabir is one of two solar parks completed by Athos Solar in Iran. (Photo: Athos Solar)
Solar Park Amir Kabir is one of two solar parks completed by Athos Solar in Iran. (Photo: Athos Solar)

German Athos Solar GmbH recently became the first investor to install and launch two high-performance solar parks in Iran. The two systems reach a combined peak output of 14 MWp.

The two solar parks cover an area of 100,000 square meters, making them the first of their scale in Iran. In early February, the two systems officially commenced operations, with both German Ambassador Michael Klor-Berchtold and Iranian Energy Minister Hamid Chitchian attending the ceremony.

“Construction of large-scale solar-energy plants in Iran only became possible since the spring of 2016, when the sanctions were lifted, meaning our systems are the first of their kind,” explains Christian Linder, CEO of Athos Solar. “The joint endeavour was initiated by two business partners from Iran and England, who also developed the rights to the project and sold them to the newly founded joint holding. We realised the project together with our trusted partners from Germany, and contracted Iranian providers for both preparatory landscaping work and subsequent electrical work.”

Considerable logistical challenges

Athos Solar only needed nine months after first contact with the Iranian developer to complete both solar parks – despite the considerable logistical challenges the project entailed: the majority of the components, including ca. 40,000 photovoltaic modules from Canadian Solar had to be imported into Iran. Athos Solar describes the interactions with the Iranian authorities, as extremely cooperative. “You can sense a great deal of openness and enthusiasm for this type of energy production,” says Linder, adding, “Our solar-energy plants are also an investment in Iran’s future power supply. Renewable energy will assume an increasingly important role, and Iran is no exception.”

The guidelines and standards used – like the environmental certification – match those in Europe. As Linder puts it, “Though the project meant entering a new geographic region, it wasn’t uncharted territory in terms of the basic conditions.” Given the positive experience with the two new plants in Hamadan, further projects are planned in Iran and other countries in the region, provided the political situation remains stable.

Completely equity financed projects

As an investor, Athos Solar completely financed the roughly 20 million Euros needed to construct the two photovoltaic systems using own equity. As Linder relates, “At the moment, that’s the only way to complete projects in Iran like this one. Bank financing simply isn’t an option; even simple transactions are a day-to-day challenge. In this regard, our advantage is that we have sufficient equity to cover the initial outlay ourselves, which allows us to implement such massive projects, even on a tight schedule.”

Volker Buddensiek / Athos Solar

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