Swedish government funds solar energy project in Cambodia

A remote island in Kampong Chhnang province where a solar energy micro grid has been installed. Ministry of Mines and Energy – Photo Phnom Penh Post

The Swedish government has provided funding for a pilot project for a solar energy micro grid launched by The Ministry of Mines and Energy and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Cambodia.

The solar energy micro grid have been set up in three villages within two communes on a remote island of Kampong Chhnang province’s Boribor district to provide energy for a total of 140 homes and businesses. The villages have previously not had any electricity aside from small diesel fuel generators.

Despite the fact that the project is relatively small in scale given that it only provides power to 140 households at a total cost of $30-$40,000, the project is a welcome development because it supported the government’s strategy to promote rural electricity in Cambodia. According to an energy ministry report, Cambodia has provided electricity to more than 97 percent of all villages across the country. The ministry had previously announced a goal to provide electricity to 100 per cent of all villages by 2021 or 2022.

Victor Jona, director-general of the ministry’s General Department of Mines and Energy said, “The solar energy grid project is not a new thing for Cambodia. In the past, through the Rural Electrification Fund managed by the Electricity Authority of Cambodia, solar energy has been distributed and sold to people in rural areas and so far there are more than 10,000 households being powered that way.”

Victor Jona said that increased knowledge and education would ultimately serve to reduce poverty in Cambodia  and that the project makes a great deal of difference to the children of those 140 households who now have the ability to study at home in the evening.

In a Facebook post, the UNDP Cambodia said that if the programme proves to be successful it could potentially be implemented on a much wider scale and be replicated in 237 other off-grid villages across Cambodia.

Source: Phnom Phen Post

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