Quercus, a green investment company in London plans to build one of the world’s largest solar power farms in Iran, highlighting European investor enthusiasm for the country despite its renewed diplomatic tensions with the US. It had reached agreement with Iran’s energy ministry on plans for a 600-megawatt plant in central Iran that would rival the largest solar projects so far built in China, India and the US.
Iran has set a target to install 5 gigawatts of renewable energy capacity — equivalent to about five nuclear reactors — by 2020 as part of efforts to meet rising demand for electricity while cutting air pollution and carbon emissions.
The country’s sunny climate makes it especially suited to solar power generation. The falling cost of solar panels and wind turbines is making renewable power a more attractive option in the Middle East, Africa and Asia, accelerating the global shift away from fossil fuels.
The Quercus project would put Britain at the forefront of developing Iran’s renewable energy industry.The Iranian project will be the first outside Europe for Quercus, which has invested more than €500m in about 40 renewable projects since its founding in 2010, many of them in the UK and Italy. Quercus will be responsible for building and operating the Iranian solar farm, with construction expected to take three years to complete.