The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved $3 million for technical assistance in activities that will lead to initiating first utility-scale floating solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in Afghanistan, Azerbaijan and Kyrgyzstan.
The technical assistance will be provided by an international consulting company, which will be selected through a quality- and cost-based selection (QCBS) method using full technical proposal. The ratio of quality against cost will be 90:10, given the relatively new technology. Individual consultants recruited as resource persons or presenters/trainers will also be recruited, and lump sum and/or output based contracts will be considered, according to ADB.
The technical assistance consultant, on behalf of ADB, will also procure three Design-Build-Operate (DBO) contracts for pilot projects.
The project for which the technical assistance is funded aims to ultimately have pilot-scale floating solar plants installed in the three countries, and assess scaled-up plants.
Furthermore, the project will develop business models with private sector participation and enhance institutional capacity in designing, constructing, and operating floating photovoltaic energy systems.
Utilisation of floating solar energy has emerged as land-based usage has certain constraints and the three countries have large lakes and reservoirs with perennially sunlit surfaces where solar energy could be harnessed, according to ADB.
In Afghanistan, the first project is planned for the Qargha reservoir, Azerbaijan will see floating solar PV panels in Lake Boyukshor, and Kyrgyzstan will harness solar energy at the Toktogul reservoir.
The move to energy diversification comes as power supply in Afghanistan is 80% imported, while 85% of power in Azerbaijan is supplied from fossil fuel-based plants. In Kyrgyzstan, 90% of power is being provided by hydropower plants.