Qatar together with France’s Total and Japan’s Marubeni signs agreement to build a solar power project, a first of its kind in the country, with a capacity of about 800 megawatts (MW), which equals about 10% of Qatar’s current peak electricity demand.

HE Sheikh Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Prime Minister and Minister of Interior, and HE Saad Sherida Al-Kaabi, the Minister of State for Energy Affairs and the President and CEO of Qatar Petroleum personally witnessed the signing of agreements for the Al Kharsaah Large-Scale Solar PV Power Plant and to establish the project company as well as for power purchase from the plant held at the Sheraton Grand Doha Resort & Convention Hotel.

The agreements were signed by HE Eng Essa bin Hilal Al Kuwari the President of KAHRAMAA, Fahad bin Hamad Al Mohannadi, the General Manager and Managing Director of Qatar Electricity and Water Company (QEWC) and member of the Board of Directors of Siraj Energy, Masumi Kakinoki, the President and CEO of Marubeni Corporation, and Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total.

With an estimated total cost of QAR1.7 billion, the Large-Scale Solar PV Power Plant will be constructed at Al-Kharsaah area west of Doha on a 10 square kilometre land plot.

Pursuant to the agreements, Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation “KAHRAMAA” in its capacity as the Transmission and Distribution System Owner and Operator (TDSOO) in the State of Qatar will buy electricity from Siraj1, which is owned by Siraj Energy (60%) and a consortium of Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and France’s Total Solar International (40%). The project follows a Build, Own, Operate, and Transfer (BOOT) model and has a term of 25 years, after which the ownership will be transferred to KAHRAMAA.

HE Minister Al-Kaabi said that the project comes in implementation of Qatar’s policy to diversify the production of energy and to increase reliance on and the efficiency of renewable energy.

The project is also part of our efforts to conserve energy and protect the environment in a manner that strikes a balance between the needs of the current generation and that of the future generations as stipulated by Qatar National Vision 2030.’

Al-Kaabi also adds that the project also comes as part of the energy sector’s contributions towards Qatar’s commitment to host the FIFA 2022 World Cup. The power plant is expected to generate about eight times the size of the solar energy Qatar had pledged to build, helping the organisation of a carbon-neutral event.

HE Minister Al-Kaabi said that the project will reach full capacity by the first quarter of 2022, adding that Qatar also plans more solar projects as the country aims to reduce carbon emissions and minimise its impact on the environment.

KAHRAMAA President HE Eng Al-Kuwari said:

Monitoring the recent developments in solar panel manufacturing including their improving efficiency and decreasing costs, and considering the natural gas quantities that can potentially be saved and the associated emissions reductions, KAHRAMAA has decided to go forward with a utility-scale solar power plant.’

Fahad bin Hamad Al-Mohannadi, the General Manager and Managing Director of QEWC and member of the Board of Directors of Siraj Energy stated that Al-Kharsaah Solar PV Power Plant will include the application of the latest solutions and innovations in solar energy technology,

Masumi Kakinoki, the President and CEO of Marubeni Corporation expressed his gratitude to KAHRAMAA for being chosen for the project. He said they are targeting an approximately 20% increase in the ratio of power generated by renewable energy sources in our net power supply by 2023.

For his part, Patrick Pouyanné, the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Total said that they are committed to better energy that is safer, more affordable and cleaner and has the ambition to expand its footprint in renewables to 25 GW by 2025.

The total capacity of Al-Kharsaah Solar PV Power Plant is 800 MW. During the first phase of the project, 350 MW will be connected to the grid by the first quarter of 2021 while the commercial commissioning of the total capacity is expected to start in the first quarter of 2022 in line with strategic objective set in Qatar National Development Strategy 2018 – 2022.

During the project’s lifetime, the plant will contribute to reducing 26 million tons of CO2, which aligns with the objectives of the national program for conservation and energy efficiency “Tarsheed” to reduce 1 million tons of carbon emissions annually until 2022.