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Clean Power Myanmar Flag (Credit: CIA World Factbook | GNU Free License)

Published on January 13th, 2013 | by Mridul Chadha

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Off-Grid Solar Power Projects For Myanmar

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January 13th, 2013 by
 
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.

Myanmar Flag (Credit: CIA World Factbook | GNU Free License)

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

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About the Author

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.



  • DG

    That flag’s out of date by about 3 years. . . . As long as you’re going to put a flag on the article, might as well get the correct one.

  • Bob_Wallace

    Site tolerance for unproven claims has been reached.

    If someone has actual data published in a recognized peer reviewed journal or from a major government agency they are free to add.

    Posts making wild-assed claims will be smitten.

    • andy

      Hi there, I’m not in the debate, but I did some investigation and found what was said was true. I forward this for now:

      http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/carbon-tax/rooftop-solar-panels-overloading-electricity-grid/story-fn99tjf2-1226165360822

      There is a link to “cancer with grid connected power photovoltaic” however for now is best to look at this one first, I notice that some of the inputted information has been pull down? Why? I found the above information to be true, so why pull it down?

      • Bob_Wallace

        The “Australian News” article you post has nothing to do with health issues. It’s just a newspaper article and parts of it make little sense.
        Grid tie inverters lock onto the grid and match grid voltage and frequency. It’s highly unlikely that there are any ” areas with a high concentration of solar cells, voltage levels can rise and this can have “consequences for appliances and equipment in customers’ homes””.

        The only valid thing I see in the article is the possibility that there will be so much solar on the grid that the utility company will have problems finding dispatchable supply that they can turn off when solar is working.

        This, in particular, seem to be a load of horse apples…

        “”It is similar to the water network – the pipes get smaller and the pressure is designed to be lower as you get closer to the house,” Mr Swanston said. “Start pumping water backwards into the smaller household pipes, and all sorts of strange things happen.””

        Unless homeowners are installing massive solar systems, something significantly larger than their roofs, there should be no way that they are overloading the “pipes”.

        You’ve got a grid set up that can handle AC, washing machine, clothes dryer, dishwasher, electric range, refrigerator, and all sorts of TVs and other stuff on at the same time. Older US houses generally have a 100 amp service. Newer houses a 200 amp service. 100 amps at 120 vac would be 12 kW. You believe that people are installing 12 kW or larger arrays? And if they did all that would happen is the wire running from their house to the street would be overloaded and get hot.

        Mr. Swanston is shoveling it out….

        • Ben

          Bob, Australian network the first in the world & is failing , you need to under stand two way current flows, one current is opposing the other. Thus in this case grid solar power is causing the issue.
          But the power engineer never designs the power network to go backwards in your case water pipes don’t flow backwards. Take water pipes, how to you over come the main pressure of the water pipe, the answer is lift the pressure high, 100 times more in order to flow water backwards, and that what there doing with grid invertors.

          Lifting the voltage high than the main, which is cause unregulated power, in which the newspaper state that appliances are blowing up, the other issue is that the power company are seeking compensation, damage equipment like transformer which had failed because of grid solar system after connection.

          A Grid Solar Arrays in Australia now minimum of 4kw to massive 100kw array system for homes. Within the streets for say 40 houses more then half have installed grid solar power, all taking the biggest system that fit to the roof or back yard of 3rd of acre, can be over 12000 watts per hour.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Ben. I don’t believe you.

            I don’t believe appliances are blowing up.

            I understand how electricity works. It is not the case of one current opposing another, that’s a crock. Electricity will flow from a higher voltage site to a lower voltage site. If the utility companies have too much supply on the grid for demand and the system voltage is rising beyond acceptable levels then they need to turn off some supply. Shut down a coal plant.

            That is the sort of supply/demand adjustments made 24/365. If there is any high voltage damage occurring it is because of inadequate grid management.
            BTW, did you pick up on the bogus statement about having solar and AC operating at the same time causes problems? Any load like ACs are going to work to use up solar supply, not increase stress on the system.

            What I can see failing on the Australian grid are transformers. Not because there is a lot of solar on the grid, but because ambient temperatures are so freaking high. Australian is getting broiled. High temperatures are very hard on components.

          • Jimmy

            CSIRO researchers have claim that solar power output is lower wattage at high temperature, a 190 watt solar panel will only give a lower power output under high temperature, so your claim that it’s the temperature in Australia blowing thing up are unsubstantiated, the CSIRO is world leader who give us the wireless internet Wi-fi.

            http://www.theherald.com.au/story/1227924/temps-bad-news-for-solar-panels/?cs=305

            Just regarding shutting down the coal generator, Australians already doing that, there are about 15 coal fired power generator station closed in 2011-2012, but the coal is now been exported to china power station for cheep electricity for the chinese.

            Australian pays the highest electricity in the world over $1 AUSIE dollars kw/h on peek smart meters, not the very low value US dollars .

          • Bob_Wallace

            Yes. Solar panels do generate less power when hot. That is well know.
            I stated that line transformers fail more quickly if kept at elevated temperatures. This is also well known.

            Once significant EVs come on line in a service area transformers may need to be up-sized. Transformers are now sized with the expectation that they will be allowed to cool down at night. Several EVs charging during late night hours will keep the transformer temperatures elevated and cause more rapid failure.

  • adrian

    I say this is a good debate on the green addenda, looking at both sides of the solar power issue, on grid and off grid, I would say that stand alone off grid is the best position to be in with batteries. However looking at what has been said about cancer producing power from grid invertors I would not question it given the power outputs of these grid solar system install across the states. It would be better to keep an open mind on this given we don’t know what effect the grid invertors has on the human body. Grid invertor work different to a standard battery invertor, they don’t have battery. I know that off grid are completely safe given low DC voltages of 12, 24, 48, but grid invertors only seem to work in high voltage arrays, above 600vdc to 1600vdc if not more these days. There was an issue down under last year about the high voltage with the grid solar arrays, these array cause power surges to the main grid, and hot spot within the household wiring, the power company advised to keep a look out for appliances running hot, if you live within a street with grid solar power. The power company refers this to “dirty grid solar Power” where by it doesn’t conform. This would cause cancer producing power if doesn’t conform.

  • Lisa

    I totally agree with your opinion on this Bob. It’s quite clear that there is no responsibility while living on the Grid; you solely depend on coal power while claiming to be green. You can’t have the two together it doesn’t work to be sustainable, on one hand claiming to be green while on the grid is like saying my car is green because I used E10 self sustainable gasoline, I could say my car is now 100% green saving the planet from C02 base emission a fully green car, is like claiming living on the grid with grid solar power, there is no different about what I say both are doing nothing in order to be green to save the planet, but doesn’t it fell good to say my car is 100% green.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Lisa – exactly where is this 100% coal grid?

      Green is relative. At least for the foreseeable future. Putting solar panels on your roof, producing as much electricity as you use over a year, and relying on grid power when your panels are not producing is greener than relying totally on grid power.

      The power you and others produce from your rooftops will cause fossil fuel use to be dialed back when your panels are producing. The amount of power produced at night will not increase.

      We will get to 100% green in steps. Each baby step helps.

      • kel

        Being green is one that is not dependant on the grid, but lives a life fully sustainable, not for money, but is doing his or her part to be independent of others like the main grid. I know of one person that is done this living off the grid since 1975 with a total off grid system of 180watts in Australia for power needs. Back in 1975 solar panels only came in 20watts around 1980s 44 watts came available and so on, but nothing has change but this grid connected solar power there was no such thing back then, it could not be done as the microcontrollers or power FETs was available, in my opinion solar power was only design for batteries not the main grid.

        • Bob_Wallace

          I’ve been living off the grid since 1989. That does not make me 100% green.
          I still need some backup generation for when the Sun does not shine. I need fuel to go to town and cut firewood. All the stuff I buy, including food, has some fossil fuel inputs.

          You are defining “green” in a strange manner. Many people will not be in a position to get off the grid, and it’s not the best solution.

          Those of us who are off the grid waste a lot of electricity. In the summer my batteries are often fully charged by 11AM. The next five or so hours of potential are tossed away. If I was connected to the grid then someone else could make use of that electricity and overall we could cut back on fossil fuel use.

          The greenest future is a grid fed by numerous renewable inputs including solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass/gas, tidal, …. That will allow us to minimize storage and fossil fuel fill in.

          • luke

            Hi bobjust reading what you are saying, how big is your off grid system what can you run with you system, i would like to know more about it?

          • Bob_Wallace

            I’ve got 1.2 kW of panels. I store power in a dozen “golf cart” 6 volt batteries. I wired things up in a 24 volt configuration. I’ve got a Trace 4kW inverter.

            I run the normal household stuff including a standard (Energy Star) 18 cu ft refrigerator. I also run a bunch of shop tools including 10″ table saw, 12″ planer, jointer, etc. For the shop tools one needs an inverter with good surge capacity, big motors pull a lot when the start up.

            I use a “slow start” submersible pump in my well. It’s down about 60′ and I pump up to storage tanks about 80′ higher. That let’s me pump water once my batteries are full and use gravity feed back rather than calling on the batteries to operate the pump when showering, etc.

            I use propane for cooking and water heating. (Eventually I’ll get around to a solar water heater.)

            I got these panels “second hand but unused”. Someone bought them because things were going to come crashing down with Y2K. To actually use them they would have had to drop some big trees in front of their house, so when things didn’t fall apart they sold them on.

            I paid about $4/watt. With the price of panels now I’d probably install 2x as many panels and that would give me enough power on days when the cloud cover is not too thick. It would reduce my need for backup.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      As ai just noted:

      How do you expect the grid to go green? Hint: by more people, corporations, and utilities installing clean energy and connecting it to the grid.

      The grid actually has efficiencies of scale that make it greener that off-grid living… fed by the right energy sources.

      Also:

      nowhere is the grid 100% powered by coal. in the US, coal is down to less than 40% of the power supply. think a bit more critically before making wild claims.

  • bob

    Well the only good thing I read about is this, living off the grid is the only way in which one can live sustainable, and those people out there that claim that you can live on the grid sustainable by using coal fired power at night and day, feeding power back into the grid is not sustainable. I have notice the differents, between the two power sources, independent off the grid, to those living on the grid. Living off the grid is 100 per cent self sustainable, one must maintain battery, inverter, power use levels, solar power input wattage to output power level drain compared to the resent results of on those on the grid don’t monitor any level of power drain, a lot of base load coal power at night is used, over loading the network with no storage of power from an on grid system.

    Many experts agree that on grid connected solar power doesn’t address the problems to reduce C02 levels power feed back is not wanted which cause power surges to over loading sub stations, even in Australia engineers are alarmed at the damage that has occurred where by street transformers have be taken out by grid solar power because of harmonics or known as dirty grid solar power, sub station shutting down tripping frequency from harmonics are getting into the computer system electronic relays controls . If you are going to live sustainable then do the right thing get off the grid an be sustainable for life, to save the planet.

    • Bob_Wallace

      Would you please supply a reliable link about ” dirty grid solar power”/harmonics?

      I’d like to be assured that this is a real problem and not some tinfoil hattery.

      Frankly, I don’t find it believable. I can be persuaded otherwise by actual facts.

      • Mark

        Bob: there recently been a problem discovered in New South Wales Australia with grid connected solar power. Leading experts in power technology warned & found that grid connected solar power inverters cause cancer producing power, meaning that power levels been feeding-back into the network are causing cancer producing power, he goes on to say that continues exposure to this energy will damage your DNA. He further said that people are doing it for the money and not questioning how the new energy is interacting with base load coal fired energy causing a cancer producing power, which was safe before grid connected solar power was installed on rooftops.

        • Bob_Wallace

          A link to a credible source, please.

          Something to a government agency for example. Or a major health agency.
          The world is full of crackpots who present themselves as experts and make claims without proof. Vaccines, dental fillings, wind turbines, fluoride in the water, the Mayan end of the world calender, cell phones, smart meters, ….

          • James

            I think you answer you own question, smart meter are not safe, nor is grid connected Invertor safe, you don’t need to be an expert to know when someone is getting sick or ill. They said that asbestos was safe by government agency so did our health agency, but now its not safe because of law suites, never put our cards on government spin doctors.

          • Bob_Wallace

            James – this site has a low tolerance for crackpots, including conspiracy theorists.

            Take your BS somewhere else.

        • Ronald Brak

          It looks like Australia is in line for its fourth Nobel Prize in Physics just as soon as these leading experts in power technology write up a paper on how it is possible to get ionizing radiation out of an inverter.

    • http://zacharyshahan.com/ Zachary Shahan

      How do you expect the grid to go green? Hint: by more people, corporations, and utilities installing clean energy and connecting it to the grid.

      The grid actually has efficiencies of scale that make it greener that off-grid living… fed by the right energy sources.

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