PV rebound seen, capacity offer expected in November

The RES sector’s new support framework, ratified last week, has heightened expectations of renewed investment activity in the photovoltaic domain following a long stretch of stagnancy. A tender to offer investors a capacity of at least 40 MW, anticipated within 2016, offers hopes of a wider revival, in the PV sector and beyond, as well as a smooth transition to the market’s new reality.

Market officials believe the PV capacity tender will be held in November, as bids must be submitted by the end of the year, according to a bailout requirement.

A two-month period will need to elapse following the new legislation’s publication in the government gazette. This period will offer older prospective investors an opportunity to reclaim previous installation rights that were taken away from them as letters of guarantee were not submitted.

In the meantime, RAE, the Regulatory Authority for Energy, will seek to forecast the level of investor interest before deciding whether to offer over 40 MW. Pundits believe the maximum capacity to be offered will not exceed 50 MW.

Investors interested in installing small-scale PV facilities, or systems between 500 KW and 1 MW, will be offered as much as 20 percent of the total capacity to be tendered.

Market officials, assuming a 40-MW capacity ends up being offered, expect 35 MW to be made available for large PV facilities and 5 MW for small PV facilities.

A degree of flexibility will be incorporated into the offer. If, for example, small PVs do not take up the full capacity offered for this category, then the leftover amount will be made available to large-scale PVs, if investor interest exists.

Pundits had expected a more even split between the small and large-scale capacity offerings. However, in not acting so, the energy ministry may have taken note of expert opinions forecasting limited investor interest in the small-scale category as a result of the lower anticipated yields. All major players are expected to take part in the tender offering large-scale PV capacities.

The overall feeling in the market is one of content. New optimism is expected to set in as the market regains momentum to diminish the uncertainty and lack of trust that have prevailed for quite a while.