The Uzbekistan Ministry of Energy has awarded contracts to a number of Chinese companies to build photovoltaic (PV) solar farms with a combined generating capacity of 4GW.

CEEC Energy China will invest $2bn (14.07bn yuan) to build 2GW of solar power plants across the regions of Kashkadarya, Bukhara and Samarkand. Meanwhile, a joint venture between Huaneng Renewables and Poly Technologies will develop a further 2GW of solar in the Jizzakha and Tashkent regions.

The first of the these solar projects is expected to become operational by the end of 2023, with all of the solar farms expected to be commissioned by the end of 2024. The government says that this 4GW of solar capacity will generate more than ten billion kilowatt hours of power annually, saving about 2.7 billion cubic metres of natural gas from being burned.

In an interview with Investment Monitor in 2020, former Uzbekistan Energy Minister Alisher Sultanov outlined how Uzbekistan planned to develop 3GW of wind power and 5GW of solar power capacity over a ten-year period as part of a plan to reduce the country’s reliance on gas-fired power plants, which account for 85% of it power output.

At the time Sultanov said: “The level of investor interest, even without state guarantees, indicates a significant increase in the interest of major players in the energy market for serious work in our country.”

Since then, the government has increased its solar power target to 7GW and wind power to 5GW by 2030. In December 2022, the Uzbekistan Government concluded a second solar auction in association with the World Bank, with GD Power of China, Masdar of the United Arab Emirates and Voltalia of France all awarded contracts.