Conergy Wins Solar Order at Tunisian Desalination Plant

Conergy AG, a German solar company, won an order from Japanese contractor Takaoka Engineering Co. Ltd. for a solar installation at a water desalination plant in southern Tunisia. No terms were disclosed.

The developer will build and supply panels to a 210-kilowatt photovoltaic plant, the country’s second-largest, at a new facility operated by state-owned utility Sonede in Ben Guardane, Conergy said today in an e-mailed statement. Once connected to the grid next month, the project will cover about 70 percent of the water plant’s power needs.

Tunisia plans to install 1 gigawatt in renewable energy capacity by 2016 as it expands power generation, with about 250 megawatts of that solar. The targets, announced in 2010, are now “hardly realistic” given the political situation in the country after the Arab spring uprising, according to Conergy.

“The Tunisian government is planning to expand renewable energies in the coming years and is making corresponding investments,” Conergy board member Alexander Gorski said in the statement. “Experts are therefore expecting a market potential of around 200 megawatts there by 2020.”

The solar project at the plant, which makes local groundwater potable, was funded by a donation from the Japanese government. Japan will also finance a 5-megawatt solar thermal power facility at El Borma, Bloomberg New Energy Finance data show.