UK Company Pulls Out of EUR500m Solar Investment

The recently imposed US sanctions on Tehran has led to British renewable energy investor Quercus stopping to build a 500 million euro ($570 million) solar power project in Iran.

The solar plant in Iran would have been the first renewable energy investment outside Europe by Quercus and the world’s sixth largest, with a 600 megawatt (MW) capacity.

Sanctions imposed on Iran by the United States earlier this month have already led banks and many companies around the world to scale back dealings with Tehran, Reuters reported.

“Following the US sanctions on Iran, we have decided to cease all activities in the country, including our 600 MW project. We will continue to monitor the situation closely,” Quercus chief executive Diego Biasi said in an email on Tuesday.

Construction had been expected to take three years, with each 100 MW standalone lot becoming operational and connecting to the grid every six months.

The Iranian project would have been 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.

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.

(Source: Tasnim, under Creative Commons licence)

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