Construction on a $12.5 million solar farm in Svay Rieng province will begin in the next few days, and will feed 10 megawatts (MW) a day into the national grid, officials announced yesterday.
The 10-hectare site in Bavet City will be built and operated by Sunseap Asset (Cambodia), the local subsidiary of Singapore-based Sunseap International, and marks the first such facility in Cambodia. It will be an important contributor to easing Cambodia’s reliance on imported electricity, explained Sunseap International’s chairman Frank Phuan at a press conference yesterday.
“Cambodia is very important country with large solar resources,” Mr. Phuan said.
“I think the common problem of the lack of power occurs during the dry season, as most of Cambodia’s power comes from hydro-electricity. So, a 10MW solar farm will improve power in the area,” he said.
Mr. Phuan said that Cambodia was blessed with large “solar resources,” or sunshine. “We think the solar project will be a big benefit here.”
Sunseap Asset (Cambodia) won the bid to build and run the facility by agreeing to sell the electricity produced to Cambodia’s Electricity Authority (EDC) for 9.1 cents per kilowatt hour. The facility has a 20-year operational expectancy.
According to the EDC, power generated by the solar farm will be connected to the national grid, once a 140-kilometer long transmission line is built.
Svay Rieng province currently requires 40MW a day due to the province’s numerous factories. Half of the province’s power supply comes from neighboring Vietnam, and it is hoped that the solar farm will make Svay Rieng self-sufficient in its power needs.
EDC director general Keo Rattanak stressed that the facility would not alleviate Cambodia’s energy issues by itself, but would play an important role in ensuring a year-round supply.
“Although the power generated from this project is small, it is the first time for Cambodia to install a solar electricity project on such a scale that connects it to the national grid,” Mr. Rattanak said.
“It cannot be used alone, but it will contribute with other power sources generated from coal-fired plants and hydropower,” he added.
Cambodia generates 50 percent of its electricity from hydropower, which means it has to import electricity from Thailand, Vietnam and Laos to meet demand.
Svay Rieng province governor Men Vibol, who was not present at the event, said that the facility would act as an important development tool for the province.
“The province is currently facing a power shortage and we depend mostly on imports from Vietnam. If a new power supplier comes to the province, people and investors will be grateful,” he said.
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