IEA (2022), Solar Energy Policy in Uzbekistan: A Roadmap, IEA, Paris https://www.iea.org/reports/solar-energy-policy-in-uzbekistan-a-roadmap, License: CC BY 4.0
A solar energy roadmap for Uzbekistan by 2030
Uzbekistan has great renewable energy potential, especially for solar energy. With a view to ensuring energy security while optimising renewable energy resources, the government has implemented a wide range of measures to promote the integration of renewable energy into the energy system and private sector participation in the energy sector, including in large‑scale solar energy projects.
Uzbekistan has made a positive effort toward that end, including by setting clear targets and reforming the energy sector and has been progressing toward achieving the solar power capacity target of 4 GW by 2026 and 5 GW by 2030. Nevertheless, a more comprehensive set of policies and support mechanisms will be required to reach Uzbekistan’s maximum capacity of solar energy and further increase solar energy toward 2030. The government should consider bundling the range of actions needed to ensure the use of all types of solar energy resources.
This section presents a solar energy roadmap for Uzbekistan by 2030. It is based on current measures being implemented in Uzbekistan to break down the possible barriers to solar energy deployment discussed in the previous section. It aims to facilitate the government’s deliberation of its solar energy strategy and focuses on:
- maximising the benefits of solar energy in the energy system
- policy and regulatory frameworks enabling further solar energy deployment
- increasing power system flexibility to integrate the increasing amount of solar generation.
Maximising the benefits of solar energy in the energy system
To maximise the benefits of solar energy, solar plants need to be installed in places where they can bring the highest value for the entire power system, i.e. they generate power where and when it is needed the most. This depends on the whole system infrastructure, including the grid network and other non-solar power assets, as well on electricity demand profiles.
Transparent information on electricity infrastructure and markets is therefore essential for creating an efficient electricity system as well as for providing current and prospective market participants with a level playing field and electricity market predictability. For example, EU member states are required to submit fundamental information such as generation, load and transmission for publication through the ENTSO-E Transparency Platform based on the EU’s Transparency Regulation. Another example can be found in Germany, where one of the transmission system operators voluntarily makes its hourly network load data public.
In the context of Uzbekistan, locational and capacity information on existing major power plants and transmission lines are available on the Ministry of Energy’s and the JSCs’ websites, while actual data such as generation by technology and network load currently are not available. As a part of the ongoing electricity market reform, the government should also consider improving the transparency of information and requiring the JSCs to provide this information.
Actual hourly generation by technology, based on publicly available data on ENTSO-E’s Transparency Platform, Spain, 1 June 2021Open
Large-scale solar PV projects have been subject to competitive bidding processes in Uzbekistan since 2019 and an awarded project can sign a long-term contract with NEGU at a fixed tariff, as noted above. The government of Uzbekistan also aims to develop small- and medium-scale solar projects. The President stresses the need for encouraging citizens and enterprises to develop renewable energy sources for their own demand (MoE, 2021b).
Looking at small-scale projects, in order to increase solar PV generation while promoting self-consumption by individuals and businesses, the government approved a targeted programme for the installation of 150 000 rooftop solar PV with a capacity of 2‑3 kW and the installation of solar water heaters with a capacity of about 200 litres to cover 2-2.5% of households by 2025. Moreover, the government plans to develop off-grid solar PV in remote areas and regions known for ecotourism. The government will also promote medium-scale plants by which enterprises and industrial parks can cover their own power demand.
Exploiting the potential of solar energy applications for both electricity and heat in Uzbekistan and encouraging investment in solar projects regardless of size and technology requires setting clear policy targets and complementing them with attractive incentive mechanisms, e.g. that foster self-consumption while avoiding unintended negative system integration impacts, such as real-time self-consumption schemes at a value-based price fixed by the regulator. Moreover, in certain areas with low population density and good solar insolation, an off-grid solar PV system with batteries and solar thermal, possibly in complement of other local low-carbon energy sources, can offer an interesting alternative to new developments or the refurbishment/upgrade of transmission lines.
As shown by the experience in other countries, it will be important for the government to put monitoring processes in place and to rapidly adjust incentives, as appropriate and if needed. This is important to: 1) ensure that small-scale projects for self-consumption are economically attractive to foster investment; and/or 2) avoid unintended over‑remuneration and negative system integration impacts.
Coober Pedy, an iconic mining town in South Australia, as many other remote areas in the world, relied on diesel generation to supply electricity. To take advantage of renewable energy potential while reducing fossil fuel consumption, the Coober Pedy Hybrid Renewable Project started commercial operations in 2017, led by Energy Developments Pty Limited with support from the Australian Renewable Energy Agency.
The project consists of 1 MW solar PV, 4.1 MW wind power, 1.5 MW/0.49 MWh battery and other integration technologies with diesel power as a backup. Renewable generation has gradually increased, achieving 75.6% of electricity demand in FY2019, while realising a reliable power supply with unplanned outages at 0.52 hours in the same period, which was almost 80% lower than those of the pre-project period.
A floating solar PV system is a set of solar panels built on a framed foundation that floats on a body of water, mostly on water reservoirs, irrigation ponds and industrial basins. The system is particularly suitable for countries/regions where land availability is limited, and has the following advantages:
- existing electricity infrastructure including transmission lines can be used if solar PV plants are built on existing reservoirs of HPPs, contributing to reducing additional grid construction and lowering grid connection costs
- solar panels can be cooled by water beneath them, which leads to higher generation efficiency
- variable solar electricity benefits from the local flexibility provided by dispatchable, highly flexible hydropower, thus limiting impacts on the power system.
There are currently 25 reservoirs in Uzbekistan, with a total water surface of 1 500 km2, 4 of which are hydropower reservoirs totalling 890 km2 (CAWater, 2021). For comparison, the area of the hydropower reservoirs are more than 15 times the size of the world’s largest solar park in India, which has an installed capacity of 2.25 GW. In this regard, the potential of floating solar PV on the hydropower reservoirs is a realistic opportunity to further increase solar PV capacity in Uzbekistan.
The government of Thailand aims to increase the share of generation capacity by renewable energy to 36% by 2037 in line with the 2018 National Power Development Plan. In response to the plan, the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), a state-owned electricity company, was committed to building 16 floating solar PV farms on its hydropower reservoirs over the next 20 years, with a combined capacity of 2 725 MW.
EGAT recently finalised the construction of Thailand’s largest floating solar PV project at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani Province with 45 MW of capacity. Commercial operation started in November 2021, and also serves as a tourist attraction for the province. The project also uses an energy management system to provide stable power supply at optimal efficiency and to address the variability of solar generation by providing flexibility to the power system.
Floating solar projects at Sirindhorn Dam, Thailand
PV2heat systems are becoming increasingly popular in several regions of the world, especially for domestic hot water. These systems consist of PV modules directly and solely connected to an electrical element that heats the water with DC power, without the need for inverters. Some systems also usually include an AC element connected to the electricity grid to heat the water when the sun is not shining (IEA SHC TCP, 2021a). PV2heat systems benefit from a simple installation, only requiring wiring from the panels to the water tank instead of insulated pipes, as is the case with traditional solar water heaters. They can also be integrated into existing water tanks. In comparison with traditional solar thermal, PV2heat systems can be particularly relevant in areas with lower insolation and colder temperatures. One downside of the simplicity of this installation is that it is also at higher risk of theft in some areas.
Although PV2heat generally requires a larger area for PV panels than solar thermal collectors for water heaters, declining costs of PV over the past years make this technology competitive. By December 2020, approximately 11 700 PV2heat systems with an estimated total PV capacity of 9.9 MWp were installed in South Africa. This emerging technology could have significant potential to contribute to sustainable hot water preparation in the residential sector in Uzbekistan.
As discussed above, district heating networks in Uzbekistan represent about one‑seventh of total national heat consumption. Natural gas accounted for 95% of district heat supplied in 2019, the remainder mostly came from coal. The buildings sector is responsible for over 80% of total district heat consumption, half of which occurs in the commercial and public sector, where it represents about one-third of total heat supplies.
By the end of 2020, 262 large-scale solar district heating systems (> 350 kilowatts thermal (kWth); 500 m²) with an installed capacity of 1.410 megawatts thermal (MWth) (2 million m²) were in operation worldwide. Denmark was in the lead followed by the People’s Republic of China (IEA SHC TCP, 2021b). Uzbekistan’s district heat infrastructure offers excellent perspectives for the integration of solar thermal into district heat supplies. It will be necessary to take the characteristics of existing district networks (e.g. efficiency, operating temperature) into account to assess the potential for district solar systems and to plan future developments.
Electric heat pumps are becoming a more attractive option due to their lower installation costs and higher energy performance. Enhancing electric heat pumps with solar PV deployment simultaneously could help accelerate a higher renewable energy ratio and lower CO2 emissions. Subsidies have proven effective in several countries to offset the upfront cost of heat pumps and initiate market dynamics that accelerate their uptake in newly constructed buildings (IEA, 2021b).
Electric heat pumps are out of the scope of this roadmap, but considering that heat accounts for almost two-thirds of total final energy consumption in Uzbekistan, the potential of facilitating electric heat pumps in parallel with solar PV development could be worth considering.
- Explore the techno-economic potential of solar energy applications for both electricity and heat, including solar thermal in buildings, industry and district heat systems.
- Ensure there is transparent information on electricity markets and infrastructure, including on generation facilities and transmission/distribution lines, in order to foster the development of solar installations in places where they maximise value to the whole power system.
- Encourage investment in small- and medium-scale solar projects by setting clear policy targets with attractive incentive mechanisms, and monitor economic attractiveness as well as unintended system integration impacts and make relevant adjustments, if needed.
- Explore the relevance of off-grid solar PV, solar thermal and solar PV2heat applications in remote areas.
- Assess the potential of floating solar PV on existing hydropower reservoirs.
- Assess the options to integrate solar thermal energy into district heating networks, taking advantage of existing district heating infrastructure.
- Consider the possibility of facilitating electric heat pumps.
Policy and regulatory frameworks enabling further solar energy deployment
Fossil fuel subsidies could not only create structural risks to government budgets and the financial performance of the energy sector, but also hamper cleaner and more efficient energy in the future by increasing fossil-based carbon emissions. During the COP26 in November 2021, almost 200 countries, including Uzbekistan, agreed to phase out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies.
Such subsidies have significantly decreased in Uzbekistan in recent years, from USD 9.0 billion in 2018 to USD 3.8 billion in 2020, but they still amount to 6.6% of total GDP in Uzbekistan (IEA, 2021c). As the power mix in Uzbekistan is dominated by natural gas, fossil fuel subsidies are also reflected in electricity prices.
To create a level playing field for all energy sources to facilitate private investment in the renewable energy sector, phasing out fossil fuel subsidies must be progressive and carefully implemented, accompanied by other policies (e.g. fiscal measures) protecting the poorest and most impacted parts of society.
As described above, new entrants to the power sector, including independent power producers, are allowed to connect to the energy system in line with the Regulation for Connecting Businesses that Produce Electricity, Including from Renewable Energy Sources, to the Unified Electric Power System. However, the detailed procedure for the grid connection is thus far unclear.
To encourage private investment in the renewable energy sector and exploit the potential of solar energy applications in Uzbekistan, when developing the electricity markets and regulation, it will be essential to ensure non-discriminatory access to the power grid regardless of entity and generation capacity through a transparent procedure and fair grid connection cost. Clearer rules on permitting for project installation and grid construction should be also considered.
The government of Uzbekistan, in co-operation with international financial institutions, has announced tenders for large-scale solar projects amounting to 2 050 MW, 1 300 MW of which had been awarded at competitive prices as of December 2021.
Substantial progress has been made toward achieving the solar power capacity target of 5 GW by 2030. To continue encouraging private investment in solar energy for both electricity and heat as well as to aim for further solar energy development in 2030, transparent and long-term plans for solar energy deployment covering small- to large-scale projects should be integrated into the government’s solar energy strategy. The solar energy deployment plan needs to go hand-in-hand with long-term grid expansion planning, which needs to be periodically updated by the government.
The government may also want to consider the option of developing a masterplan with solar parks to further attract investors and reduce overall costs. Solar parks have proven to be an effective tool in other countries, e.g. in India.
Moreover, energy planning should include the active participation of all stakeholders, including citizens, in order to best tailor energy development to the concrete energy needs of the population and avoid conflicting projects and social opposition, while considering and monitoring the social and environmental impact of the development.
Long-term planning for renewable tender and grid development in Germany
Renewable generation in Germany has significantly increased over the last two decades: from 6% in the power mix in 2000 to 42% in 2019, which well exceeded the 2020 target of 35%. Renewables also play an important role in the heat sector, reaching 15% in 2019 in the final energy consumption for heating and cooling. Solar PV became the second-largest renewable electricity source after onshore wind. Its capacity amounted to 47.5 GW in 2019.
Competitive tenders for solar PV officially started in 2017 (after the pilot tenders in 2015) and the average awarded tariffs have remarkably decreased, from 9.17 euro cent (ct)/kWh (equivalent to 99.2 USD/MWh) in 2015 to 4.69 ct/kWh (53.9 USD/MWh) in 2018.
To increase the share of renewable electricity to 65% by 2030 and achieve carbon neutrality before 2050, the German government amended the Renewable Energy Sources Act in 2020. The act set out auction volumes for individual technology up to 2028. As regards solar PV, an annual volume between 1.95 GW to 6.0 GW will be tendered with a view to increasing its cumulative capacity to 100 GW by 2030.
Average awarded tariffs for ground-mounted solar PV systems in Germany, April 2015-October 2018Open
The electricity grid, in the meanwhile, plays a critical role in ensuring secure and affordable power supply of renewables and achieving a successful energy transition. The major transmission lines in Germany have a total length of 37 000 km. One of the main challenges Germany is facing is to develop long-distance transmission lines to deliver wind power generated in the north and the east of Germany as well as the North Sea to the demand centres in the south and west of the country, which will mean constructing or upgrading more than 7 500 km of transmission lines in the next few years.
In order to properly facilitate grid expansion, the government approved the Electricity Grid Action Plan in 2018 which adopts two approaches: 1) optimising existing grids using new technologies and operating strategies; and 2) accelerating grid expansion by simplifying planning procedures and using forward-looking operation. This was followed by the endorsement of the 2019-2030 Grid Development Plan in 2019 which outlines grid expansion and optimisation up to 2030.
Sources: BMWK (2021a), Erneuerbare energien [Renewable energy]; BMWK (2021b), Ein stromnetz für die energiewende [An electricity grid for the energy transition].
Over the last decade, solar PV capacity has significantly increased globally owing to the sharp decline in price, amounting to more than 600 GW total installations in 2019. The more solar PV is deployed globally, the more end-of-life solar panels will be disposed of in a couple of decades. Currently, the cumulative solar panel waste is much less than installed solar PV capacity, but it is estimated to reach 5.5-6 million tonnes by the 2050s (4% of installed PV panels), given an average panel lifetime of 30 years (IRENA and IEA PVPS, 2016). The management of end-of-life solar panels could be an integral part of solar PV policy in terms of recycling valuable materials and components, but also for the proper treatment of hazardous substances such as tin and lead.
Solar PV capacity in Uzbekistan is still negligible, but the government aims to rapidly increase its capacity up to 5 GW by 2030. Considering the average solar panel lifetime, the treatment of end-of-life solar panels is not a pressing issue in Uzbekistan, but it is important to incorporate appropriate policy measures into the current regulations with the possible future challenge in mind.
To increase renewable energy sources in the power mix in Japan, the Japanese government introduced a feed-in-tariff system in 2012, which led to a massive surge in solar PV capacity to 56 GW in FY2019, up from 5.6 GW in FY2012.
Solar PV project developers in Japan are required to dispose of appropriately their end-of-life solar panels based on the Waste Management Law. The decommissioning cost is taken into account in the feed-in tariffs. However, there is a looming risk of illegal disposal after their 20-year contract because the ownership of the solar PV projects tend to change frequently.
To avoid the risk and ensure the proper treatment of end-of-life solar panels, the government decided to develop a fund dedicated to end-of-life solar panel disposal in 2020 by externally accumulating part of the feed-in tariffs.
Sources: METI (2021a), Recommendation on procurement cost, etc. from FY2021; METI (2021b), Detailed design of the Renewable Energy Reform Act.
- Progressively phase out fossil fuel subsidies to level the playing field with renewables while protecting the most economically vulnerable consumers.
- Consider the possibility of implementing fossil fuel bans in new building constructions.
- Ensure non-discriminatory access to the power grid for all generators with a transparent procedure and fair grid connection cost.
- Formulate clearer rules on permitting for project installation and grid construction.
- Integrate transparent, participative and long-term planning for renewable development into a solar energy strategy in Uzbekistan.
- Develop long-term power grid development planning in line with renewable development.
- Consider appropriate measures to dispose of end-of-life solar panels.
Thanks to a sharp cost decline and continued policy support, electricity generation from variable renewable energy (VRE) sources has been rapidly expanding globally, having reached double-digit shares in several countries. However, VRE output fluctuates over time due to the variability of sunlight and wind availability, making it increasingly important to address power system flexibility to enable further integration of VRE into the power system.
The IEA categorises VRE integration into six phases. In Phase 1, VRE deployment has no noticeable impact on power system operations, while the power system is able to address minor operational changes through existing system resources including conventional generators and operational practices in Phase 2. The significant integration challenges appear in Phase 3, in which power systems are required to become flexible enough to adequately respond to supply-demand fluctuations within minutes to hours. In Phase 3 through Phase 6, the following implication needs to be considered: 1) VRE determines the operating pattern of the whole power system; 2) additional investments in flexibility are required; 3) there are structural surpluses of VRE generation that lead to curtailment; and 4) the seasonal and inter-year structural imbalances in energy supply require sectoral coupling.
Key characteristics and challenges in the different phases of variable renewable energy system integrationOpen
Looking at the status of VRE integration in Uzbekistan, the VRE share in the power mix was negligible, at 0.02% (15.6 GWh) in 2019, meaning that today VRE has almost no impact on the power system. However, Uzbekistan should achieve a renewable electricity share (including hydropower generation) of 25% by 2030 in line with the Strategy for the Transition of the Republic of Uzbekistan to the Green Economy for the Period 2019‑2030. It could reach the advanced VRE integration stage where the system operation needs to address greater fluctuation of VRE generation and facilitate additional flexibility sources.
Flexibility has been traditionally and globally supplied by thermal and hydropower generation together with other options such as pumped storage hydropower (PSH) and interconnections. This conventional rotating generation is based on synchronous machines, providing inertia to the system.
In Uzbekistan, TPPs account for a large portion of electricity assets (14.0 GW, or 88.1% in 2019) followed by HPPs (1.9 GW, or 11.9% in the same year) (IEA, 2020a), and both technologies not only ensure sufficient power supply, but also should be served as flexibility sources through optimised system operation in the medium term.
It must be kept in mind that solar PV plants themselves can provide flexibility to the power system, e.g. through tracking and oriented depending on demand requirements, and hybrid systems with storage. In this respect, the introduction of locational and time adjustments into bidding levels could be worth considering to foster solar generation where and when it maximises value to the power system.
Moreover, the government should also explore other flexibility sources such as PSH and batteries when considering further deployment of solar generation in the decade and beyond. Appropriate conditions need to be in place for the balancing market so that these sources are incentivised enough to participate in the market.
Annual variable renewable energy share and corresponding system integration phase in selected countries/regions, 2018Open
Interconnections not only enable electricity trade between neighbouring countries, they can also enlarge the area where energy balancing can be made to address mismatches in demand patterns beyond national boundaries. Interconnections remain a key enabler of system integration of VRE, providing system flexibility of about 170 GW globally in 2017 (IEA, 2018).
As previously described, Uzbekistan has interconnections with five neighbouring countries (Afghanistan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Turkmenistan), and new 500 kV interconnection lines will be constructed between Afghanistan and Tajikistan by 2025 in accordance with the Concept Note for ensuring electricity supply in Uzbekistan in 2020‑2030. Given the fact that interconnections contribute to securing power supply to these countries as well as to using each others’ thermal and hydropower assets as flexibility sources in the medium to long term, further developing interconnections and creating a single electricity market among the neighbouring countries could be key options.
Pumped storage hydropower (PSH) plants globally accounted for about 150 GW in 2017 and 97% of energy storage capacity, providing short- and medium-term energy storage (IEA, 2018). There are no PSH plants in Uzbekistan today, but in April 2021 Uzbekhydroenergo and French electric company EDF announced plans to develop a PSH plant (200 MW) along with floating solar PV on its reservoir in Tashkent region (Hydropower&dams, 2021).
The government is committed to increasing HPP capacity up to 3.8 GW by 2030 (1.54 GW of new HPP development and 0.19 GW in refurbishment/upgrading of existing HPP) in the Concept Note for ensuring electricity supply in Uzbekistan in 2020-2030. Adding pumped storage options should also be considered to secure further flexibility sources in the future.
Concentrating solar power (CSP) is a technology for generating electricity from irradiation, concentrating solar rays to heat a fluid which directly or indirectly runs an electrical generator. While a solar PV system can use direct and diffuse solar radiations, CSP only uses direct irradiation and thus needs a daily minimum of sunshine to generate electricity, which limits its use to hot, dry areas with clear skies. Compared to solar PV, the predominant solar technology accounting for more than 600 GW globally in 2019, the installed CSP plant capacity is quite limited (6 GW in the same year) (IEA, 2020b), but CSP plants with built-in thermal storage is a dispatchable technology, providing power system flexibility and stability while securing a low-emission power supply.
If direct normal irradiance is high enough, CSP could be a promising option to satisfy increasing solar generation in the power mix and provide system flexibility. Uzbekistan has a lot of sunshine throughout the year, with DNI at 4.44 kWh/m²/day (median value). The south-western region including Kashkadarya and the Samarkand region especially has relatively higher DNI (about 4.9 kWh/m²/day). A detailed feasibility study on the deployment of CSP plants could be valuable.
Demand response (DR) is another flexibility source provided by the demand side, reducing or shifting electricity use by consumers. It is a cost-effective way to reduce electricity demand during peak periods, providing an alternative to increasing electricity generation. Moreover, DR allows using excess electricity more efficiently by shifting electricity demand if the share of VRE increases in the electricity mix and its output is high during certain times of the day.
Because DR is a cost-effective and sustainable flexibility option, the potential of developing DR schemes with cost-reflective energy tariffs should be taken into account. Once its potential is positively assessed, DR should be included in power system planning and operations, but should be placed on a level playing field with supply-side flexibility sources through appropriate mechanisms (e.g. demand-side bidding in electricity markets).
- Optimise the operation of conventional power plants (TPPs and HPPs) as a system balancing option.
- Consider introducing locational and time adjustments into solar PV bidding levels with a view to fostering solar generation where and when it maximises value to the power system.
- Enhance interconnections with neighbouring countries.
- Facilitate sufficient storage development, including PSH and batteries.
- Consider the potential of CSP plants in terms of low-emission power sources and system flexibility provider.
- Develop appropriate conditions for the balancing market to incentivise diversified energy sources such as PSH and batteries to supply flexibility to the power system.
- Investigate the potential for DR schemes.
Solar energy in Uzbekistan: Vision for 2030
This section provides a vision of solar energy in Uzbekistan in 2030. It outlines the sustainable energy environment solar energy could deliver and offers a timeline up to 2030.
In this vision, Uzbekistan succeeds in maximising the benefits of solar energy capacity for both electricity and heat, making solar energy one of the country’s major energy sources.
Solar energy potential with specific technologies – including solar PV, floating solar PV, CSP, PV2heat, solar thermal, district solar heating and electric heat pumps – is properly estimated. In addition to mega-scale solar projects, small- to medium-scale solar projects including rooftop solar PV become attractive to developers and consumers thanks to appropriate policy targets and measures. Off-grid solar energy systems could secure clean energy supply in remote areas with good solar resources but no access to the grid.
Transparent and sound policy and regulatory frameworks create a level playing field for all energy sources, enabling various developers to participate in the energy market and get access to the energy system. This is strengthened by the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies and the possible additional support for renewable sources. Moreover, long-term energy and grid development planning provides developers with business stability and predictability in Uzbekistan, contributing to further solar energy deployment in a cost‑competitive manner.
Due to the increase in the share of VRE in the power mix, power system flexibility increasingly becomes a key issue, while conventional power plants remain a major power source in Uzbekistan providing flexibility to the power system. A properly designed balancing market enables low-emission energy sources such as PSH and batteries to serve as new flexibility options. Furthermore, DR and enhanced interconnections with neighbouring countries also serve as additional flexibility sources while securing power supply in these countries.
This section outlines a timeline for key actions through 2030 to help Uzbekistan create the conditions necessary to achieve the solar energy vision laid out in this roadmap. The government of Uzbekistan needs to periodically monitor its progress toward a solar energy future and to review policies and actions where appropriate.
This roadmap provides a timeline through 2030 with key actions. In addition, in order to further enhance solar energy use beyond 2030 and move progress toward clean energy transitions, the government of Uzbekistan may need to also consider decarbonising other sectors.
This includes focusing on reducing emissions in hard-to-abate sectors, including heavy industry and long‐distance transport, through measures such as the roll-out of electric vehicles and the development of solar hydrogen production and use.
Uzbekistan has abundant renewable energy potential, most of which lies in solar energy thanks to high solar irradiation. However, until now energy supply has been dominated by fossil fuels, with renewable energy – almost exclusively hydropower – accounting for only 1% of its total energy production in 2019.
To satisfy growing energy demand while promoting renewable energy use, the government of Uzbekistan has adopted a wide range of energy strategies and laws and has been undertaking energy sector reform to increase solar energy use and make it a key energy source by 2030.
These efforts could be complemented by: further exploring the potential of solar energy applications; establishing policy and regulatory frameworks to enable greater deployment of solar energy facilities; and increasing power system flexibility to address the variability of VRE generation. These aspects include phasing out inefficient fossil fuel subsidies while protecting economically vulnerable consumers, implementing tariff reform, and investing in upgrading and improving the capacity and reliability of the power transmission system. All of this would allow Uzbekistan to better integrate increasing amounts of solar energy through 2030.
Moreover, integrating the country’s solar energy strategy into the larger Uzbek energy strategy, while also looking towards increased regional co-operation, particularly on electricity trading, will allow Uzbekistan to truly take advantage of its significant solar potential in a cost-efficient manner.
The possible actions need to be undertaken in a timely and systematic manner to achieve a solar energy future in Uzbekistan by 2030. As a first step through 2025, the solar roadmap should duly consider short- and medium-term policy targets already set, including the formation of an electricity market formation 2023 and the renewable generation ratio of 20% by 2025. Accordingly, the government should properly explore the potential of solar energy applications for both electricity and heat with clear targets and attractive incentive mechanisms, while progressively phasing out fossil fuel subsidies to level the playing field with renewable energy sources. During the process of developing electricity market design and regulations, the government also needs to ensure non-discriminatory access to the power grid for all generators and formulate clearer rules on permitting. The needs for power system flexibility remain limited during this term, but the government should consider necessary measures to ensure that existing conventional power plants and solar PV itself could serve as flexibility options.
From 2025 onward, additional efforts could be required to achieve the 2030 policy targets of renewable electricity ratio at 25% and solar power capacity at 5 GW. The government could further unlock the vast solar energy potential by exploring other applications such as CSP, floating solar PV, off-grid solar PV in remote areas, solar PV2heat and electric heat pumps. The treatment of end-of-life solar panels is not an urgent issue in Uzbekistan, but it could be worth considering incorporating appropriate policy measures into the regulations early on.
After 2025, power system flexibility gradually becomes visible as an issue, with the increase in VRE generation. The government should consider appropriate conditions for balancing the electricity market, which enables diversified low-emission energy sources such as PSH and DR to supply flexibility to the power system. It should be also kept in mind that enhancing interconnections with neighbouring countries could serve as an additional source of flexibility, while enhancing power supply security among these countries.
Throughout the timeline from today up to 2030, in parallel with the step-by-step actions listed above, the government needs to continue ensuring the availability of transparent information on electricity infrastructure and markets to foster solar energy deployment. The government should also support the optimisation of conventional power plant operation as a flexibility option, depending on the penetration level of renewable energy sources. Moreover, it should be kept in mind that transparent, participative and long-term planning for renewable development needs to be properly incorporated into the overall solar energy strategy, while long-term power grid planning must remain in line with renewable deployment.
To further promote solar energy use beyond 2030, the government might also consider decarbonising other sectors, e.g. through the roll-out of electric vehicles and the development of solar hydrogen production.
As illustrated in the roadmap, there are various examples of international best policy practices in the area of renewable energy, which Uzbekistan could learn from and adapt according to its national context. To enhance the use of solar energy resources in Uzbekistan, we recommend the government consider incorporating, as appropriate, all measures listed in the roadmap into its solar energy strategy toward 2030 and beyond.