China Energy Engineering Corporation (CEEC) has successfully commissioned 400MW of a 1GW solar project in Uzbekistan, marking a significant milestone in the country's efforts to diversify its energy sources. The project, part of CEEC's substantial US$8.1 billion Uzbek portfolio, utilized solar trackers supplied by Chinese manufacturer Arctech.
Arctech's SkyWings solar tracking system, implemented in the project, played a crucial role in achieving commercial operation on schedule by December 27 of the previous year. The SkyWings system employs connected drives to synchronize the movement of two tracker rows, allowing them to efficiently follow the sun's path.
This achievement is a positive development for Uzbekistan's energy sector, traditionally dominated by fossil fuels, particularly natural gas. According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), gas accounted for 54% of the country's generation capacity in 2019.
With only 104MW of solar capacity installed by the end of 2021, Uzbekistan faces the challenge of accelerating project commissioning to meet government targets of generating 4GW of electricity from solar by 2026 and 5GW by the end of the decade.
CEEC and Arctech's collaboration extends beyond this project, as they announced their involvement in another venture in Uzbekistan last September. In this separate project, Arctech plans to deploy its SkyLine II tracking system, showcasing a diversified approach across central Asia.
The Uzbek government's initiative to attract foreign investment into its solar sector is gaining traction, with Masdar recently signing plans to develop 2GW of solar and wind projects in the country.
The IEA also highlights the considerable potential for floating photovoltaic (PV) in Uzbekistan, given the expansive water surface of the country's hydropower reservoirs. Foreign investment is deemed integral to building the necessary power infrastructure for the development of a robust floating PV sector.