Maldives Launches Tender for 11-14 MW of Solar Projects Across 14 Islands

The Maldives has issued a tender inviting interested bidders to participate in the pre-qualification process for installing 11-14 MW of solar projects in 14 major islands.

The last date for submitting applications for prequalification is September 9, 2021.

The tender falls under the World Bank-supported Accelerating Renewable Energy Integration and Sustainable Energy (ARISE) project. In December 2020, the World Bank had approved a $107.4 million project to help the Maldives accelerate its transition to renewable energy.

The ‘Accelerating Renewable Energy Integration and Sustainable Energy’ (ARISE) project builds on the efforts of the existing World Bank-funded program ‘Accelerating Sustainable Private Investments in Renewable Energy’ (ASPIRE) initiative to bring in private investments for increasing renewable energy capacity in the Maldives.

The PV installation project covers the hybridization of 14 island grids that rely almost entirely on diesel for power generation.

The Maldives aims to accelerate renewable energy development through private sector engagement, and with assistance from World Bank, a standard public-private partnership project framework has been developed.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the environment ministry of Maldives have also started to implement solar battery-diesel hybrid systems in 48 islands out of the 160 inhabited islands. This is part of the Preparing Outer Islands for Sustainable Energy Development (POISED) project, which aims to help the country cut down its reliance on diesel and concentrate on tapping solar power. ADB also approved a concessional loan of $7.74 million and a project grant worth $2.73 million for the project.

Solar projects in this prequalification bid will be developed on a design, build, finance, own, operate, and transfer basis. The successful bidder would be required to sign a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) with the existing electricity service provider along with another set of standard agreements.

The bidder will be supported by risk mitigation instruments extended by the World Bank through ARISE project. This includes tariff buy-down support, payment guarantees, and Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA) guarantees for various non-commercial risks.

The Maldives seeks to be a carbon-neutral nation by 2030, and assistance through projects such as ARISE is setting the trajectory for the process. The ARISE project includes bringing in 36 MW of new solar PV installations with an estimated 40 MWh of battery energy storage systems (BESS) and grid infrastructure upgrades.

The first project under the framework for 1.5 MW rooftop PV installations has been completed and is in operation since March 2018. Additional two sub-projects include 5 MW ground-mounted solar (tendered in 2019 and currently in the construction phase) and a 21 MW project (in tender stage).

Currently, energy from renewables makes only 4% of the national energy mix. Significant growth in renewables will be required for the Maldives in the coming years to meet the clean energy target of being carbon-neutral by 2030.

Earlier this month, the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, and Technology, Maldives, had invited bids from engineering, procurement, construction contractors to install BESS of 40 MW/40 MWh capacity on select islands.