Iran Solar PV opportunities
Iran’s potential for PV is extremely high, having an excellent solar irradiation and high electricity demand. Yet, as Iran is still an infant renewable energy market, there are big challenges to PV investments that need to be overcome. The macroeconomic situation of the country (i.e. high inflation rate, limited access to international finance) and the universal electricity subsidies constitute a difficult framework for the PV development. In addition, knowledge on technology and installation is still limited, thus a strong impetus has to be done on training and qualification. On the other hand, the new support scheme with cost-covering and very attractive Feed-in-Tariffs builds a strong base for an emerging PV market, especially after the removal of trade sanctions.
Thanks to the great efforts of the Renewable Energy Organization of Iran (SUNA), for large-scale PV power plants, there is a fairly well standardized process defined which gives confidence to investors and EPCs.
The duration of a project development is estimated to be more than one year, still SUNA strives for more efficient and quicker approval processes. For smaller installations, also regional DSOs are involved. SUNA is still working on standardizing this process.
Main challenges are a better access to national financing, transparent planning processes for the Feed-in-Tariff-funding, uniform standards for contracts, approvals, studies, norms and procedures and – above all – a communication campaign for inspiring the Iranian public on the great potential of solar energy and the serious ambition to let the market grow.
In addition, Iran’s new commitment at the COP 21 is another good sign that renewable energy, as a powerful instrument to reduce Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions, will get a true chance to make their inroads in the Iranian energy mix.