Works to construct a mega solar power plant have started in Wangdue Phodrang. The groundbreaking ceremony for the solar plant with a capacity of more than 17 megawatts of electricity was held yesterday. The plant is expected to be ready in a year and a half and will produce around 25 million units of energy in a year.
The large-scale solar plant is being constructed on an area of more than 65 acres at Yongtru village in Sephu Gewog.
The project is estimated to cost around USD 11 M which comes to more than Nu 900 M is being funded by the Asian Development Bank via grants and concessional loans.
Once in operation, the plant is not only expected to enhance domestic production but also reinforce climate change resilience.
“Through the Sephu Solar Project, we are looking at how we can enhance the energy in the winter to meet our domestic demand. Due to economic development, now demand has increased and we are importing from India. Importing from India not only comes at a high price and exorbitant tariff but also the long-term assurance is not there,” said Ugyen, project director of the Sephu Solar Project.
“We need sufficient energy to ensure that the people have continuous power and do not face any problems. After starting this solar project, we are expecting to generate about 500 megawatts of energy after three years,” said Loknath Sharma, Minister for Energy and Natural Resources.
The project will be constructed through a joint venture between a local construction company and an Indian company. The works are expected to finish by December of next year.
And once complete, the Druk Green Power Corporation will take over the operation and maintenance responsibilities of the plant.
“The power that is generated from this Sephu Solar will be directly fed into the grid. So, this is the first at the mega scale. So, there will be no storage as such. Energy generated from this plant would be directly fed into the grid. On average in a year, so from this Sephu Solar Plant will alone 25 million units of energy will be generated,” added the project director.
The project also has plans to develop several basic infrastructures for the people.
“Number one we are also at the community level blacktopping the farm roads through this project, we also have a plan for starting a milk processing unit through this project, and we also have a plan to set up public outreach clinic health. And we also have a plan to provide fencings for the agricultural land through this project, and also we have watershed management of Sephu community, especially the drinking part,” further added the project director.
The construction of the plant is a part of the initiative to ensure reliable power supply and reduce reliance on imports. The government intends to generate around 500 megawatts of electricity through solar power plants by 2025 and around 1,000 megawatts by 2030.