OPEC member Iraq has awarded two solar power projects to Chinese companies in line with a landmark agreement signed between the two countries in 2019, the official Alsabah newspaper reported on Monday. 

The two projects are located in the Southern Muthanna Governorate bordering Saudi Arabia and are the latest in a series of solar power contracts awarded by Iraq to foreign firms within a strategy to increase reliance on renewable energy. 

The two projects have a capacity of 130 megawatts (MW) and 500 MW respectively and are situated in separate areas in the Governorate, the paper said. 

“The Electricity Ministry has awarded the projects to Chinese companies which have started working on them,” Muthanna’s assistant Governor Hamid Al-Hassani said. 

Iraq has awarded several solar power contracts to Total of France and other foreign companies over the past months within plans to expand renewable sources to 20 percent of the energy mix within the next few years. 

OPEC’s second largest oil producer is suffering from severe power supply shortages due to damage caused to the energy sector during the war, making it heavily reliant on imported energy mainly from nearby Iran. 

(Writing by Nadim Kawach; Editing by Anoop Menon)