SPCG Public Company Limited has announced that it intends to set up off-grid solar power projects for rural populations in Myanmar. The company has significant experience in the solar power sector in the Southeast Asia region. The company is expected to have 240 MW of operational solar power capacity in the region by the end of 2013. It is now planning to enter the new market of Myanmar which could open up highly attractive new sources of revenue.
While the company currently has plans to establish only 2 MW of solar power capacity, it may look to expand further. Myanmar is struggling to meet the rising electricity demand from its 60-million-strong population. According to the Asian Development Bank, of the 40 million people living in rural areas, only 16% are connected to the power grid. The majority of the rural population is dependent on diesel oil generators which are not only huge sources of harmful emissions (including carbon dioxide and sulfur dioxide) but also cost about twice as much as off-grid solar power solutions.
Several renewable energy project developers in the Asian countries see this situation as a great investment opportunity. SPCG is looking to set up small hydro power plants in addition to solar power projects, as Myanmar is blessed with significant hydro power resources. Such small-scale and off-grid renewable energy projects are likely to play a critical role in the economic development of the large rural population of the country, as large-scale electricity infrastructure and regulatory mechanisms might take substantial time to implement.
100s of GW of Renewable Energy To Be Tapped
Myanmar is blessed with substantial renewable energy resources. Hydro power is the country’s biggest clean energy asset, with an estimated potential of over 100,000 MW. Wind energy, which is currently in the experimental and research phase there, has an estimated electricity generation potential of 365 TWh per year. Solar radiation intensity is also quite attractive at 5 kWh/m2/day during the dry season. Biofuels have shown significant promise as well.
The views presented in the above article are author’s personal views only
Mridul Chadha currently works as Head-News & Data at Climate Connect Limited, a market research and analytics firm in the renewable energy and carbon markets domain. He earned his Master’s in Technology degree from The Energy & Resources Institute in Renewable Energy Engineering and Management. He also has a bachelor’s degree in Environmental Engineering. Mridul has a keen interest in renewable energy sector in India and emerging carbon markets like China and Australia.