Sterling & Wilson brings 125MW bifacial solar plant online in Oman

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A Sterling & Wilson project in Australia. The company claims to now be in its 10th GW of projects delivered as well as having more than 7GW of operating PV plants under its management. Image: Sterling & Wilson.

EPC firm Sterling & Wilson has completed its first solar PV project in Oman, a 125MW DC plant using bifacial panels, with the India-headquartered firm entering its 10th gigawatt of projects worldwide.

Sterling & Wilson announced the Amin Solar PV project’s completion last week. The EPC company, which said it has now worked on 9.2GW of solar projects worldwide, claims to also be the first Indian company to commission a solar PV project in the Middle Eastern country.

Amin Renewable Energy Company – a consortium led by Japanese conglomerate Marubeni – contracted Sterling & Wilson to execute the project, with local partners Bahwan Engineering Group, Oman Oil Facilities Development Company (OOFDC) and Modern Channel Services (MCS). Marubeni provided 50.1% of equity, OOFDC 30%, Bahwan 10% and MCS 9.9%. Marubeni said in February 2019 that it had signed a 23-year power purchase agreement (PPA) for the plant’s output with Petroleum Development Oman.

Sterling & Wilson said the Amin project lies on “extreme rocky ground conditions,” which required the use of 165 pieces of earth-moving equipment at the site to excavate 100km of cabling trenches.

Using bifacial panels and single-axis trackers – a technology mix recently highlighted as the most cost-effective for solar PV projects in most of the world by Solar Energy Research Institute of Singapore (SERIS) –  the Amin Solar PV project is thought to also be one of Oman’s first major solar projects. It will however be followed by a much-larger, US$400 million, 500MWac plant currently under development by a consortium led by ACWA Power, which reached financial close in March this year.

Chinese module supplier Jolywood recently said it is shipping PV modules to that project, Ibri II, while Sungrow is supplying inverters. Jolywood also said it supplied N-type bifacial PV modules to a 125MW project in Oman, thought to be the Amin project. In a recent interview with PV Tech for a blog about Chinese major players making inroads into the Middle East market, Jolywood’s Middle East chief Zhipeng Liu said that projects in the region are “mostly large-scale installations of over 100MW with quite a few smaller ones.”

“It is very exciting to do business here – either you get a mega project or nothing at all,” Liu said.

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