Qatar last week joined the Gulf region’s push into solar photovoltaic (PV) development, awarding the 800MW Al Kharsaah project to a consortium of Japan’s Marubeni and France’s Total, at a new world record low levelized cost of electricity (LCOE). At US¢1.57/kWh the winning bid is just the latest in a series of world record low LCOEs to be offered for a Gulf solar PV project (see chart).

The US¢1.57/kWh specified in the power purchase agreement signed 19 January represents a further 10% discount on the original US¢1.745/kWh price offered by the Marubeni consortium. Given that this was already the lowest bid, it is unclear why Marubeni and Total would volunteer to slash their profit margin – perhaps more likely is that Qatar surreptitiously tweaked the terms to enable a lower (and world-beating) headline price. (CONTINUED - 589 WORDS)