Masdar, one of the world’s leading renewable energy companies, has announced the formal start of construction for its 230-megawatt (MW) Garadagh Solar PV Plant in Azerbaijan – the nation’s first foreign investment-based independent solar power project. Masdar also signed agreements related to the development of additional clean-energy projects across the country.

The groundbreaking ceremony, held in Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, was attended by His Excellency Ilham Aliyev, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, HE Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, and HE Parviz Shahbazov, the Minister of Energy for Azerbaijan. Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, led the company’s delegation at the ceremony.

HE Suhail Al Mazrouei, the UAE’s Minister of Energy and Infrastructure, said, “The United Arab Emirates and Azerbaijan share deep cultural and economic ties, as well as a vision for a sustainable future driven by clean energy. The UAE and Masdar look forward to continuing to drive foreign direct investment and supporting Azerbaijan on its ambitious clean energy journey as we explore more opportunities to further strengthen our partnership”.

Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi, Chief Executive Officer of Masdar, said, “This groundbreaking event marks a major milestone in Azerbaijan’s clean energy journey and we at Masdar are proud to be able to leverage our experience and expertise to support the nation’s energy transition. By diversifying its energy mix, Azerbaijan will be able to drive sustainable development and enhance energy security, while making a major contribution to climate change mitigation.”

Masdar signed agreements to develop the Garadagh project, located nine kilometers northwest of the Alat settlement, in April last year, with the plant expected to start commercial operation in 2023. The project will help to generate half a billion kilowatt-hours of electricity annually, enough to meet the needs of more than 110,000 houses, and will reduce emissions by more than 200,000 tons a year, while also creating valuable jobs.

The Abu Dhabi Fund for Development (ADFD), the UAE's leading development financing institution driving sustainable development at home and abroad, is a key finance partner for the project and is keen to support Azerbaijan further over its efforts to achieve renewable-energy goals.

Masdar also today demonstrated its extended commitment to Azerbaijan’s renewable energy objectives, with CEO Al Ramahi signing four Memorandums of Understanding with different parties, all related to the development of clean energy projects in the country.

“We look forward to building on our presence here in Azerbaijan, and helping the nation achieve its renewable energy objectives through these agreements,” Al Ramahi said. “We stand ready as an active strategic partner to Azerbaijan to provide knowledge exchange, develop local expertise and deliver lasting infrastructure improvement. Together with our local partners, we will put Azerbaijan on the path to a zero-carbon future.”

Azerbaijan is targeting increasing the proportion of its installed power capacity coming from renewable sources to 30 percent by 2030, as the country looks to diversify its economy and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Azerbaijan has an estimated solar energy potential of 23,040 MW, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).