The Iraqi government and UAE-based renewable energy company Masdar have signed an implementation agreement to develop 1GW of solar energy capacity in Iraq.

As per the terms of the contract, Masdar will build five solar power plants in the first phase. After the first phase, Iraq and Masdar will develop another 1GW of solar capacity.

The agreement was signed in Baghdad in the presence of the Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi, the country’s Oil Minister Ihsan Abdul-Jabbar Ismail, and UAE Energy and Infrastructure Minister Suhail Al Mazroui.

A statement from the Iraqi Prime Minister’s Office received by the Iraqi News Agency (INA) read: “This step is the first practical stage taken by the government to rely on alternative, clean and renewable energies in the production of electrical energy, and to meet Iraq’s energy needs.”

The implementation agreement signed by Iraq and Masdar follows a heads of agreement (HOA) signed by the parties in June 2021 for developing solar photovoltaic (PV) projects in the country with a minimum total capacity of 2GW.

The projects are planned to be developed in central and southern Iraq.

In August 2021, INA reported that 45 companies had submitted bids to the Iraqi Parliamentary Oil and Energy Committee to implement solar energy projects across the country. Each of the solar projects is planned to have a capacity of 500MW.

At that time, one of the committee members, Sadiq Al-Sulaiti, told the publication that contracts will be transferred shortly to launch the investment contract method.

Al-Sulaiti said that the investments in the solar power projects will not cost anything to the Iraqi government and that the project proponents will assume full responsibilities of the projects and take the dues for selling only energy.

Iraq is aiming to achieve 10-12GW of power generation from renewable sources by 2025, which will constitute 20-25% of the country’s energy mix.