Laos lays groundwork for 50 MW solar plant

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The Lao Ministry of Science and Technology in Laos, southeast Asia, revealed last week the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with AL-PNTC Consortium to conduct a feasibility study investigating the potential benefits of developing a 50 MW solar PV plant.

If given the green light, the solar plant would be the largest PV project in the country’s history.

The director general of Laos’ Ministry of Science and Technology’s Planning Cooperation Department, Malaythong Kommasith, has remarked that the country’s high levels of solar irradiance and swathes of under-utilized flatland areas in the south of the country are ideal conditions for the development of a PV strategy.

Laos recently introduced its first ever Renewable Energy Development Strategy, which has carried out inaugural rounds of testing throughout the country.

The strategy has reported that 2,000 hours of sunshine blankets Laos each year, which – when calculated with an overall efficiency of 10% – could generate 146 kWh of solar power per square meter per year.

Thus far, Laos has been unable to tap into its natural resources for renewable energy, relying instead on intermittent, off-grid PV installations of just a few kilowatts. Local renewable energy company Sunlabob Renewable Energy has thus far focused the bulk of its developmental attention and project work elsewhere, often in neighboring countries that are further along the PV development path.