60-MW Solar Park Pumps Power into the Grid

Cambodia’s green energy portfolio has received a boost as the first phase of the National Solar Park is put into operation, with the capacity to generate 60 megawatts of electricity
Officials visit a solar park in Kampong Chhnang province to initiate the start of power delivery, November 11, 2022. Kiripost via ADB
Officials visit a solar park in Kampong Chhnang province to initiate the start of power delivery, November 11, 2022. Kiripost via ADB

Cambodia’s solar journey has taken a leap forward as the first phase of a giant 100-megawatt (MW) solar park starts operations in the form of a 60 MW plant connecting to the national grid.

The partnership between Asian Development Bank (ADB) and state-owned Electricite du Cambodge (EDC) to develop the 100-MW National Solar Park hit a milestone with the park’s first 60 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation plant connecting to the national grid.

On November 11, ADB President, Masatsugu Asakawa, marked the occasion with a visit to the solar park in Kampong Chhnang province to initiate the start of power delivery.

“Solar generation will need to be a key part of Cambodia’s efforts to expand access to affordable power while also transitioning to cleaner energy,” said Asakawa.

“ADB is pleased to have supported the establishment of the National Solar Park, which is a landmark project not only for Cambodia but for all of Southeast Asia”, he added.

ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa (left) and EDC Managing Director Keo Ratanak initiate power delivery. Kiripost via ADB
ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa (left) and EDC Managing Director Keo Ratanak initiate power delivery. Kiripost via ADB

According to ADB’S press release, the project demonstrates the potential to develop large-scale solar PV in a cost-effective manner in Cambodia by mobilizing both public and private resources. Under the project, an international competitive tender was organized to bid out power generation units to the private sector in two phases of 60 MW and 40 MW.

Moreover, ADB provided end-to-end support for the project, including delivering transmission interconnections, infrastructure, roads, and drainage systems; transaction advisory support and advising EDC on the private investment component of the project, including the selection of a private sector sponsor; and structuring and mobilization of private sector financing for the construction of the 60 MW power generation plant.

Managing Director of EDC, Keo Rottanak, said ADB was one of the early players in helping Cambodia increase household access to grid electricity from 17 percent in 2008 to almost 90 percent in 2021, while also helping reduce electricity costs nationwide.

“ADB was the nation’s first development partner to fund an earlier 10 MW grid-scale solar farm, and with the new National Solar Park today, ADB is with Cambodia once again in scaling up the nation’s solar contribution to more than 10 percent of the total generation mix in capacity terms.” Rottanak said.

With ADB’s continued support, including transaction advisory services and mandate with EDC to help develop 2 GW of solar power, Cambodia is set to create the necessary conditions for a cleaner and more sustainable energy transition.

Cambodia’s recently-approved Power Development Masterplan (2021­–2040), which was developed with technical assistance from ADB, states the share of solar PV in the country is expected to reach 1,000 MW by 2030 and exceed 3,000 MW by 2040.