JEDDAH: Iraq’s Ministry of Electricity signed on Wednesday a contract with China’s state-owned Power Construction Corporation of China (PowerChina) to build its first solar power plants with a capacity of 2,000 MW, Asharq reported.

Writing on a blog, Iraq’s prime minister Mustafa Al-Kadhimi said this was one of the first such projects in the country and would supply the system with clean, renewable energy.

The first plant will have a capacity of 750 MW, and the country will add more plants until it hits the 2,000 MW target.

No mention was made of when production would begin.

Iraq is the second largest oil producer among the OPEC nations, but it imports electricity from Iran.

Iraq has been exploring ways of becoming less reliant on energy imports, especially following increasing pressure by the USto loosen ties with Tehran.

The US State Department early in August granted another sanctions waiver allowing Iraq to import Iranian electricity until the end of this year as it struggles with frequent power outages and lack of domestic generation capacity.

The Iraqi prime minister has previously said he wants to see his country generating electricity from solar energy.

Iraq’s Oil Minister Ihsan Ismail told Asharq earlier that his country will award solar power projects until 2025 to generate 10,000-12,000 MW, which make up around 25 percent of its power needs.

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