Cambodia to buy 12,000 home-based solar PV systems

Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday, July 16 2010
Lee Hong Liang

Cambodia is playing catch-up on a 2007-borne plan to install off-grid solar photovoltaic (PV) system in rural areas as the government now plans to acquire 12,000 systems in August.

A rural electrification plan received funding support from the World Bank three years ago to spread clean and sustainable power to village households in remote areas that are not connected to the national grid.

To date, the Cambodian government has only managed to test and install the home-based solar PV system on a very small scale basis since 2007.

“The home-based solar system can generate about 40 watt peak (Wp) of electricity for each household,” says Toch Sovanna, director of the energy technique department at Cambodia’s ministry of industry, mines and energy.

“We plan to bring in 12,000 solar systems next month and have invited vendors to submit their bids,” Sovanna tells Recharge.

He adds that the vendors may be either foreign or local firms.

The cost of each solar PV system could between $300-400.

Cambodia's goal is to provide electricity from different forms of renewable energy sources such as biomass, mini-hydro and solar to all rural households by 2020.

Neighbouring Laos has had more success in its 2007 rural electrification plan which received the same support from the World Bank. The components of the solar PV systems, however, have not been functioning properly.

The Southeast Asian country has installed about 2,000 systems in rural households and plans to increase that figure to 100,000 by 2020.

Other Asian nations such as Bangladesh and Bhutan are also looking to install more of such cost-effective home-based solar PV systems to bring electricity to households situated in inaccessible areas


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