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On January 23, the Kazakh energy minister Kanat Bosumbayev and the German ambassador Tilo Klinner opened the largest solar power plant in Central Asia. The plant in the small town of Saran near to the city of Karaganda was built by the German company Goldbeck Solar , which is based in Hirschberg an der Bergstraße in the north of Baden-Württemberg. The plant covers an area of 160 hectares and has an output of 100 MWp (megawatt peak), and over a year it should produce more than 140,000 megawatt hours. Goldbeck Solar expects the plant to have a service life of about 25 years.

Half of the costs of $105 million (about EUR 92 million) were financed by a loan from the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development. A loan of $22.2 million (EUR 19.4) was also provided by the Green Climate Fund (GCF). The solar power plant is a public-private partnership and will be operated by the Kazakh government over the next 15 years. It should secure the energy supply in the region and thus promote economic development. One kilowatt hour will cost 34.61 Kazakh tenge. That is the equivalent of about EUR 0.08 – about twice as much as is normal in the region.