Sun shines on Magwe solar power project

Thai firm Green Earth Power Company has signed an agreement with the government to move forward on its plans to spend US$350 million building a 220-megawatt solar-power generating station near Minbu in Magwe Region.

The facility will sit on 850 acres that are not suitable for agriculture, and will take three years to complete, said Green Earth managing director U Aung Thiha.

“The first stage will see 50 megawatts of electric power produced by March 2016, with the total development time lasting three years,” he said.

Green Power is eager to be located in an area with lots of year-round sun- shine as well as close connections with large transmission lines. Solar projects have been successful in places like Japan and Thailand, and there is no reason they cannot also succeed in Myanmar, according to U Aung Thiha.

“We believe this project will succeed because of our international experience and global standard – though there will be a little bit of difficulty because it’s the first time [building in Myanmar],” he said. “It’s difficult transporting things that weigh over 30 tonnes, for example.”

A department of the Ministry of Electric Power and Green Earth Company signed a contract governing the project on October 16 in Nay Pyi Taw, after inking an earlier memorandum of understanding on the deal last year. The agreement covers 30 years of energy production, though the tariff is still being negotiated and has not been announced.

“This is a test,” said U Aung Thiha. “If it succeeds, we will get trust from the government and can cooperate in other places.” The project will also add lots of jobs to the local economy, he added.


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