The Siraj-1 solar power plant, also known as the Al Kharsaah solar power plant, is an 800MW photovoltaic (PV) solar power facility being developed in Al Kharsaah, Qatar. It will be the first large-scale solar power project in Qatar. The financial closure on the project was reached in July 2020.
The Al Kharsaah solar power facility will be built, owned, and operated by the Siraj1, a special purpose vehicle comprising Siraj Energy (60%) and a consortium of Japan’s Marubeni Corporation and France’s Total Solar International (40%).
Siraj Energy is a joint venture between Qatari state-owned entities Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) and Qatar Petroleum. Kahramaa holds a 60% stake in Siraj Energy, while the remaining 40% stake is held by Qatar Petroleum.
Kahramaa entered into a 25-year agreement to buy electricity from the Al Kharsaah power plant in January 2020. The project will be executed on a build, own, operate, and transfer (BOOT) basis for a period of 25 years after which the ownership of the facility will be transferred to Kahramaa.
The total investment in the project is estimated to be approximately £360m ($460m). Upon achieving full capacity in 2022, the Siraj-1 solar power plant is expected to account for approximately one-tenth of Qatar’s current peak electricity demand.
Location and site details
The Siraj-1 solar power plant will be located on a 10km2 (1,000ha)-site in the Al Kharsaah area, approximately 80km west of Doha, the capital of Qatar.
Siraj-1 solar farm make-up
The Al Kharsaah solar power plant will consist of approximately two million bifacial solar panels that are capable of absorbing sunlight on both sides of the panel. The solar panels will be mounted on automated single-axis sun-tracking systems while robotic cleaning technology will be employed for cleaning the solar panels.
In the first phase, the developers expect to complete the installation and achieve a grid connection for 350MW capacity by the second quarter of 2021. The full capacity of 800MW is expected to be connected to the grid in 2022.
The Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) and Mizuho Bank agreed to co-finance the development of Al Kharsaah solar power project in July 2020. JBIC and Mizuho Bank will provide a loan of approximately £258m ($330m) for the project with both financial institutions contributing $165m each.
Law firm Clifford Chance advised JBIC and Mizuho Bank on project financing for the Siraj-1 PV solar farm.
Kahramaa called for bids for the construction of a large-scale power plant in Qatar’s first solar tender in early 2019. A consortium of Total Solar International and Marubeni was awarded the project in January 2020.
A consortium of consultants assisted Kahramaa in the process of awarding the Al Kharsaah solar power project. Ernst&Young acted as a financial consultant, DLA Piper was a legal consultant while Poyry provides technical consultancy services.
PowerChina Guizhou Engineering Corporation, a subsidiary of Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina), was awarded an engineering, procurement, and construction (EPC) contract for the development of the Kharsaah solar power plant in February 2020.
Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI)
Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI) is working with Total, Marubeni, and Kahramaa to provide solar resource data for the development of Al Kharsaah power plant.
QEERI is a national research institute under Hamad Bin Khalifa University in Qatar. It has 14 solar radiation monitoring stations at various locations in Qatar, including Al Kharsaah, to record the various components of solar radiation.