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New solar and wind power project unveiled

Chea Vannak / Khmer Times Share:
An engineer works on a solar power installation mounted on top of a building. Reuters

Officials from the Ministry of Mines and Energy have announced a new project that will provide a boost to the local renewable energy sector by electrifying three key provinces with the use of small-scale solar and wind power devices.

The provinces of Pursat, Kandal and Mondulkiri will benefit from a new project that will further the government’s goal to provide access to electricity to every village in the country by the year 2020.

Victor Jona, the director-general of the Ministry of Mines and Energy, said the project is now in the preliminary stages. The first feasibility study was recently finished with positive results.

“We want to help people in remote areas gain access to electricity,” Mr Jona said, who also explained that, under the new project, households in the selected provinces will be equipped with small-sized solar panels and wind turbines.

Each solar panel and wind turbine will cost about $200 and can generate up to 60 watts per household, said Mr Jona, who added that the government will help farmers purchase the devices by subsidising half their cost.

“During the first study, it was shown that the project is feasible,” Mr Jona said. “Now we are moving on to phase two, which involves seeking funding from government and other developing partners to implement the project.”

Mr Jona said that 28 megawatts were generated nationwide from home solar electric systems and commercial solar plants in 2017, while only 300 watts were produced through wind turbines.

While more studies need to be conducted on using wind energy for commercial purposes, small wind turbines used in residential applications show as much potential as solar power, Mr Jona said.

In August, a $12.5-million, 10-megawatt solar farm in Svey Rieng province’s Bavet city – the country’s first solar power plant – came into service, selling energy to the national grid under a 20-year power purchase agreement.

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