State-run construction firm, Avelar, will build up to US$147 million worth of solar power plants in the Altai region, near Kazakhstan, according to one of Russia’s official news agencies.

The website of news agency Ria Novosti, which hit headlines in the west when Russian president Vladimir Putin closed it down temporarily in December, reported today that the state will invest in the plants.

Ria Novosti said Avelar had announced a partnership with the Altai region’s local government and another state-owned company, Khevel (also written ‘Hevel’ or ‘Hevel Solar’ in English). Upon construction of the plants, Avelar said the partners were aiming at building up to 45MW of generation capacity in the Altai republic.

The electricity generated would be sold on wholesale energy and power markets. Avelar was aiming to complete construction and bring the plants online by 2018, with plants expected to include hybrid systems as well as solar power systems.

It is understood Altai already has medium to large-scale projects under construction in the Altai region. In September last year, PV Tech reported the construction of 12 solar projects throughout central and southern Russia, costing US$400 million that Avelar and LG Solar were teaming up to build.

The 12 plants were also to be built in conjunction with Hevel, which signalled its own intent in the clean energy market later that month. Hevel, a public-private partnership, announced it would invest RUB2.7 billion (US$83.7 million) toward its goal of building 600MW of solar PV capacity in Russia by 2020.