Russia speeds up renewables, also solar power photovoltaics

22,000 MW of renewables will be in the pipeline by 2020. The focus is mainly on small hydro, wind power and biomass, but the photovoltaic solar power market is also starting to open up, with about 2,000 MW.

Now also Russia, one of the world’s major oil and gas suppliers, is considering the possibility of strongly developing renewables. The latter was found by Solar PV Consulting, which emphasised that, in order to satisfy the fast-growing electricity demand that has been forecasted for the coming years, while reducing CO2emissions, Russia has planned to install about 22,000 MW from renewable sources by 2020.

The development will mainly regard small hydroelectric plants (that in Russia include plants up to 25 MW), followed by wind farm plants and biomass facilities. Also geothermal energy and solar photovoltaics, which are currently almost non-existent, should play a certain role.

Specifically Solar PV Consulting stresses the fact that, in a scenario of fast-growing PV costs, this technology might register a quicker development than it was expected, with at least 2,000 MW installed over the next ten years.

Furthermore, the recent and significant investments made by energy giants such as Renova and Lukoil in photovoltaics – especially in panel and system manufacturing plants – confirm Russia’s intention to take a leading role in this industry. A similar interpretation was made of ongoing initiatives for the construction of a "Silicon Valley" in the Russian North Caucasus by a joint venture established between the local government and a few private companies for a $1 billion silicon production project.

To be noted that in Russia the main resource is abundant, since solar radiation in several areas of this huge country (Caucasus, Krasnodar, all the vast southern border of Siberia and even some regions of north-central Siberia) is similar to that of central Italy. And some areas, like the region of Zabaikalsky (between Lake Baikal and the Far East), are even sunnier that Italy and Spain.