First large-scale solar plant in Kazakhstan receives EBRD backing

By Svitlana  Pyrkalo
@pyrkalo

 First large-scale solar plant in Kazakhstan receives EBRD backing

Joint Kazakh-British 50 MW project, Burnoye Solar, pioneers private sector participation in renewables
 
A landmark renewable energy project in Kazakhstan will be co-financed by the EBRD and the Clean Technology Fund (CTF) with loans of well over €80 million.
 
The EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, said: “The EBRD has consistently supported sustainable energy projects in Kazakhstan, but Burnoye Solar is a particular landmark for the country’s Green Economy agenda. It is a first in many crucial categories. It will be the first commercial-scale solar park in Kazakhstan. It will be the first privately owned renewable energy generator in Kazakhstan. And it is the first use of a new project finance structure that will open the door to more private investment in renewables in the future.”
 
The EBRD will lend 14.06 billion tenge (€70 million equivalent), and the CTF will lend €13.8 million to the project which is pioneering the use of a non-recourse project finance structure.
 
The financing will be extended to Burnoye Solar-1 LLP, a project company founded by a joint Kazakh-UK venture, Samruk-Kazyna United Green LLP.
 
The venture is owned by UK-based United Green Energy Limited and Samruk Kazyna Invest LLP, the investment arm of Kazakhstan’s sovereign wealth fund.
 
Work on the Burnoye Solar project started following the adoption in 2014 of the Renewables Law on which the EBRD – the largest renewable energy investor in its region - cooperated closely with the Kazakh government. Burnoye Solar will be located in the energy-deficit Zhambyl region in south Kazakhstan, in an area close to Western Europe-Western China highway. The project was implemented jointly by local and European contractors, with the advantage of ensuring a transfer of technology into the country. Taxes from the plant will be paid into the local budget.
 
“The sun and wind of south Kazakhstan can be harsh, but they are perfect as they provide the powerful sunlight that can power up our 192,000 European-made solar panels all year round and the airflow that naturally cools them down.” said Albrecht Frischenschlager, Member of the Supervisory Board, who signed the project on behalf of Burnoye Solar -1.
 
Burnoye Solar was one of several project agreements signed by the EBRD President, Sir Suma Chakrabarti, during his working visit to Kazakhstan where he co-chairs the Foreign Investors Council with President Nazarbayev.
 
The EBRD is expecting to again increase its annual investments in Kazakhstan in 2015, after reaching a record US$ 700 million last year. So far this year, the EBRD has committed US$ 400 million to various projects there, including Burnoye Solar. The total EBRD lending to date in Kazakhstan is over US$ 7 billion.