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Solar could lower power costs for local business, IFC study reveals

Distributed solar solutions can help businesses in Myanmar bring down their power costs and climate impacts, a study by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) reveals.

The study estimates that there are more than 700 megawatts worth of potential commercial and industrial solar projects in Myanmar, which is equivalent to around 10 percent of the country’s existing power generating capacity.

The IFC, part of the World Bank group, has released the report “Myanmar Distributed Generation Scoping Study” this month, highlighting the potential of solar power to fill the gap between electricity demand and capacity while diversifying Myanmar’s power generation means.

“Clearly with Myanmar’s crucial energy needs, the country’s commercial and industrial businesses are looking for near-term solutions to their electricity challenges,” said Isabel Chatterton of the IFC’s Asia Pacific team.

Since the Myanmar government substantially raised electricity tariffs this yea), local businesses have cut back on power consumption in order to cope with the price increase.

The price changes have made solar panel installations a more attractive proposition because of their cost competitiveness and advantage of being deployed more quickly than other renewables. Solar could also lessen the reliance on emergency sources for the next hot season. Backup diesel generators are costly and polluting.

Consumers experienced power interruption on average one to three times a day, and blackouts could continue up to 10 hours in the worst week of the year, the study showed. The study pointed to the development of distributed solar projects as part of the solutions.

“Several commercial and industrial businesses are in a good position to take advantage of the fast-growing distributed solar generation sector through private-sector led solutions and financing,” said Ms Chatterton.

Myanmar is currently implementing five emergency power projects after a rushed and controversial tender process which sparked widespread industry criticisms. The five projects aim to plug the energy shortfall next year, avoiding this year’s disruptive blackouts and scheduled outages.

Myanmar remains one of the countries in the world with the lowest electrification rate at around 40pc.

The World Bank released a report this year estimating that US$2 billion of annual investments by 2030 are required to reach complete electrification. The power demand is growing by 15-17pc per year, according to energy ministry statistics.

Source : Myanmar Times

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