Sian Crampsie

Wärtsilä is to start offering utility-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) solutions, it has announced.

The Finnish firm will offer clients solar PV plants of 10 MW and above as well as hybrid power plants comprising solar PV and internal combustion engines. Its first PV plant will be built in Jordan.

"We are excited to expand our portfolio with new sustainable innovations and help our customers reduce their carbon emissions," said Javier Cavada, President of Wärtsilä Energy Solutions. "Large-scale solar is a big business, with the installed base expected to grow four-fold to 450 GW by 2025.

"Our competitive edge builds on three things: global EPC capability, a wide sales and service network, and an existing customer base in 176 countries."

Wärtsilä expects rapid growth in solar business, resulting in annual sales of €300 million in 2020. Target customers for its new offering are utilities, independent power producers (IPPs) and industrial customers, the company said in a statement.

It added that it would focus its efforts on Africa, the Middle-East, Latin America and South East Asia. Wärtsilä will acquire the solar PV modules for the EPC projects from leading module suppliers.

Wärtsilä is the first company to offer utility-scale solar hybrid plants. The hybrid solution couples a solar PV park with a flexible Wärtsilä Smart Power Generation power plant. The two units operate in synchronisation to reduce the engines’ fuel consumption.

Wärtsilä’s first solar project is a retrofit hybrid plant in Jordan. It combines a solar PV farm with IPP4, a 250 MW Smart Power Generation plant comprising 16 Wärtsilä 50DF engines, delivered to AES Jordan in 2014. Wärtsilä’s EPC scope includes 46 MW of solar modules, covering an area of 81 hectares, as well as inverters, switchgear, control systems and overhead transmission lines.