First Solar, Inc. has announced that it is supplying over 860,000 high-performance thin film modules to power a 100 megawatt (MW)AC utility-scale photovoltaic (PV) solar power plant developed by Zorlu Enerji in Pakistan. The Independent Power Producer (IPP) facility, part of the Quaid-e-Azam Solar Park in the country’s Punjab province, is expected to be completed and connected to the electricity grid by the first half of 2018.
When completed, the plant will increase Zorlu Enerji’s installed capacity in the country to 156.4MW, a portfolio that includes a 56.4MW wind farm completed in 2013. The facility will generate an estimated 180 million kilowatt-hours of electricity per year - sufficient to power approximately 140,000 average homes - for Pakistan’s Central Power Purchasing Agency, under a 25-year Power Purchase Agreement (PPA).
“We are confident that First Solar’s advanced PV modules will thrive in Bahawalpur’s desert conditions, delivering over eight percent more energy than conventional crystalline-silicon panels, and enabling our successful bid for a PPA,” said Sinan Ak, Chief Executive Officer 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.”
“This project is part of a pivotal move by Pakistan to secure its energy independence by harnessing its solar resource, and we are proud to be playing an enabling role,” said Stefan Degener, First Solar’s Head of Business Development for Europe and Africa.
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. In addition to selling PV modules in these markets, Zorlu Solar is undertaking its own project development activity, powering its successful projects with First Solar technology.
“This deal demonstrates Zorlu Group’s ability to enable our sales strategy by expanding First Solar’s installed capacity well beyond our existing markets. It also proves that our high-performance technology and Zorlu Group’s commercial expertise makes for a winning combination in any of the 26 markets covered by our agreement,” Degener added.