US-based vertically integrated manufacturer First Solar is to supply thin-film modules to a 100MW(AC) solar project developed by Zorlu Enerji in Pakistan.
The project, part of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in Punjab province, will include 860,000 modules and is expected to be completed and connected to the grid by the first half of 2018.
The plant has a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with Pakistan’s Central Power Purchasing Agency. It will generate an estimated 180 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year – the equivalent of powering roughly 140,000 homes.
In the country, Zorlu Enerji also has a 56.4MW wind farm that was completed in 2013.
“We are confident that First Solar’s advanced PV modules will thrive in Bahawalpur’s desert conditions, delivering over 8% more energy than conventional crystalline-silicon panels, and enabling our successful bid for a PPA,” said Sinan Ak, chief executive of Zorlu Enerji. “We are also confident that we will set a new benchmark for solar energy in Pakistan, replicating the standards we set with our award-winning Jhimpir wind power plant. There is no doubt in my mind that this project will be a new milestone for the development of utility-scale solar in the country.”
In February this year, First Solar and Zorlu Holding signed a collaborative sales agreement under which Zorlu Solar became a major distributor of First Solar’s modules in Turkey, Afghanistan, Albania, Bosnia, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Pakistan, Romania, Serbia, Turkmenistan, the Ukraine, and the Commonwealth of Independent States.
Last week, Pakistan announced plans for its first ever tariff-based solar auction for 50MW in the Sindh Province.