Nepal embraces solar power

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has announced plans to diversify energy resources as it seeks to develop solar projects in the Himalayan country.

In the next year, the NEA is looking to launch a 20 MW solar power project with financial support from the World Bank, according to Nepali news portal Kantipur Online.

NEA managing director Rameshwor Yadav said the utility was preparing to develop a solar power plant for the first time as a trial project. "Given the changing scenario in the energy sector worldwide, the NEA is of the opinion that it should also begin tapping solar power to utilize natural resources to the maximum," he said.

In October, the NEA signed a separate memorandum of understanding with Chinese solar company Hunan Yueer Solar Energy Technology Co. for the installation of a 30 MW solar station in the country, online news service Myrepublica reported. The Chinese company will hold 92% stake in the project and sell the generated electricity to NEA, which will own 8% of the facility, for a 35-year period. The government will take control of the plant thereafter.

Last year the NEA also signed a power purchase agreement (PPA) with Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board, which oversees a 680.4 kW solar plant financed by the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) in Dhobighat, Lalitpur, which went online in January, according to online news service Nepalnews.