Myanmar: 210 MW solar plant in the planning

Bloomberg and the Bangkok Post have reported that Green Earth Power, a Thailand-based renewable developer, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for the 210 MW solar project with Myanmar’s electric power ministry earlier this month. The company is now said to be looking for partners to join the development, and plans to complete the project within two years.

Supasit Skontanarak, Green Earth’s managing director, told the Bangkok Post that the project’s power purchase agreement (PPA) is expected to be signed within three months. Bloomberg further revealed today that all electricity generated by the solar plant will be sold to the Myanmar government for a period of 30 years.

No further details were available and the company could not be reached for comment

Renewable energy in Myanmar

As pv magazine reported in March, Myanmar has one of the lowest domestic consumption rates of energy in the Southeast Asian region, with just one in four people having access to reliable electricity.

At the 3rd ASEAN Energy Outlook in February 2011, the country set a target to generate 15 to 20% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Meanwhile, this January, the New Energy and Industrial Technology Development Organization of Japan (MEDP) and the Myanmar government signed an agreement to cooperate towards the introduction of renewable energy and energy conservation technologies in the country.

Although no specific targets have been set for solar power, projects are said to be in the planning. SPCG, a Thai solar farm developer and ASEAN, expressed an interest this year in developing off-grid solar projects in Myanmar, for example.

Overall, very little solar has been installed in the country to date, despite the high levels of sunshine. The Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) has introdcued small-scale systems at schools and institutes across the country, and the Mandalay Technological University installed 3kW PV power systems in technical school and institutes that are off the main grid. Meanwhile, private companies have been working hard to establish off-grid solar power in the country, for those who need it the most.

Evan Scandling, Head of Communications of Sunlabob Renewable Energy told pv magazine in March, "To date, solar PV is far from widespread in Myanmar. We are aware of a few small off-grid projects through NGOs in recent years and a couple announcements for new installations in the last 12 months." These projects are not in the gigawatt-range but smaller and aim to serve the locals who live without power and who, when they do need electricity, pay exorbitant amounts for sporadic power.

Edited by Becky Beetz.