Amid a push for new power sources, the Ministry of Electricity and Energy (MOEE) has announced talks with two companies for potential solar contracts. According to a press release, MOEE officials met with executives from Victory Radiance Trading Co Ltd., a Myanmar-registered company, and Chinese firm Power China Company. They discussed new solar policies, the role of solar in Myanmar’s planned energy mix and a proposed solar power generation project in Magway Region.
Although solar has made relatively little headway in Myanmar’s power sector development, the talks could indicate that the MOEE is warming up to the renewable source. Hydro power currently accounts for more than 60 percent of Myanmar’s power, and the country will turn to liquid natural gas as its secondary power source as the government works towards total nationwide electrification by 2030. However, some industry experts predict that solar may gain momentum in coming decades. According to this year’s SolarPower Europe Emerging Markets Task Force’s Myanmar research report: “Myanmar has incredible potential for solar energy: the International Growth Centre has estimated Myanmar’s solar potential to be 51.973 TWh (terawatt-hours) annually.”
In addition to its value as a clean, renewable power source, solar panel networks can provide electricity to remote communities without access to the national grid. Private solar networks already supply power to many rural populations in Myanmar. Indeed, small solar grids are commonly used to power remote cellular towers, and their operators occasionally donate the excess electricity to local communities as part of their corporate social responsibility activities.