Fronius Pioneers Expansion Of Renewable Energy In Iran
The 1.2-MW PV system was officially opened in Rafsanjan in mid-August with a ceremony attended by politicians, the international media and project partners.
The Iranian government is supporting the construction of photovoltaic systems by offering a generous, long-term feed-in tariff. This provides an attractive incentive for companies and private households to invest in renewable energy. Fronius Solar Energy is well-positioned to help: the solar technology specialist has recognised the potential of the Iranian market and, through its local Fronius Service Partners, provides private and commercial system operators with high-quality, easy-to-install inverters.
A wide range of products and unique service plan make Fronius a sought-after renewable energy supplier across the globe. Iran is home to a number of Fronius Service Partners who are qualified and certified in accordance with strict criteria. They provide installers and end customers with products and take care of installation, commissioning, maintenance and repairs. The two key local sales partners are also part of the Fronius Service Partner Plus programme. This means they always have spare parts in stock and can therefore respond promptly and efficiently to customers’ needs.
“We have been building good business relationships in Iran for some time now," emphasises Area Sales Manager Benjamin Fischer. “Together with our colleagues in the region, we’ve already implemented a number of successful projects."
One such project is the Rafsanjan solar power plant in Kerman province. With a peak performance of 1.2 megawatts, the free-standing system, which was completed in June 2017, is set to generate roughly two million kilowatt hours of electricity every year. Planning and installation was undertaken by Austrian solar company KPV Solar, which has had its own branch office in Iran since 2016. Thirty-eight Fronius Eco inverters are used in the power plant as well as ten Fronius AC Combiners functioning as optimised interfaces between the inverters and the grid. There is also a Fronius Sensor Box to measure external factors such as insolation, ambient temperature, module temperature and wind speed.
“The Fronius products are high-quality, robust, long-lasting, and easy to install," explains Gerhard Rabensteiner, founder and managing director of KPV. “They’re just some of the reasons why Fronius is such an exceptional project partner." Benjamin Fischer from Fronius adds: “The extreme climatic conditions in the Kerman desert demand a lot from our equipment, but the performance shines through." The solar power plant in Rafsanjan is intended to be the showpiece of the Austrian photovoltaic specialist’s expertise and serve as a model for future construction projects in the country.
“The next 1.5-MW project and a number of 5-kW residential installations are on the cards. This is a major step towards our vision of 24 hours of sun," enthuses Fischer.
However, it is not just commercial system operators that benefit from investment in renewable energy; companies and homeowners are also reaping the rewards of a generous feed-in tariff introduced by the Iranian Ministry of Energy to encourage the construction of photovoltaic systems. Companies and individuals can conclude a supply agreement over a guaranteed 20-year period, which stipulates that the smaller the system, the higher the price paid per kilowatt hour of electricity generated. The initial outlay is therefore often recouped in only a few years.
Fronius inverters are also designed for more compact installations: the SnapINverter technology makes them safe and easy to install. What’s more, they are intuitive to use, and servicing is quick and easy thanks to the local partner network. Users benefit from maximum yields and reliable, long-lasting devices. For instance, in the city of Ravar, a homeowner had a 5.5-kilowatt photovoltaic system installed on the roof in combination with a Fronius Primo inverter. The feed-in tariff meant their investment paid off after a mere four years, after which time the owner started earning money from their self-generated power.
With around 300 days of sunshine a year and an average of twelve solar hours per day, Iran is the ideal location for exploiting solar energy – a good enough reason for the government to invest heavily in expanding the technology. The country is also benefiting from the recent lifting of EU sanctions, which is enabling foreign companies to increase their local presence. Experts predict rising economic growth of roughly five percent per annum in the coming years. “Iran is and remains a highly attractive market for us and one which we are already well-positioned to serve through our Fronius Service Partners," explains Benjamin Fischer. “We are confident that we can build on this leading position in future."