Thai firm signs 300MW solar deal in Ayeyarwady Region, Myanmar

Construction News Myanmar

Yangon-based Won Toll signed an agreement for a 300-megawatt solar power project with Kamrai Panit from Thailand on May 18, said officials.

The US$1 billion agreement will fund the solar power plant in Ayeyarwady Region to generate electricity to transmit to industries, said U Kunn Zaw Tun, chair of Won Toll.

The figure is unusually high for a project of the proposed size.

“We are going to start the project as soon as we sign a power purchasing agreement with the Ministry of Electricity and Energy,” he told The Myanmar Times yesterday.

The two companies plan to produce 50MW in the first six months and 300MW within one year from when the project starts, he said.

“We are going to present the project to the Ayeyarwady Region chief minister on May 20. He will then take the proposal to the Union [government] level.”

The Thai company will invest 80 percent of the capital while the remainder will be funded by Won Toll. The two companies also aim to build solar projects in other states and regions.

Neither company has any major existing power projects in Myanmar.

“This is our first development. We would like to build in our regions as well. We have already imported solar plates,” said U Kunn Zaw Tun.

A senior official from the Ministry of Electricity and Energy said he had no knowledge of the project.

“For such a large project they will need approval from the Union-level government,” the official said.

“Technically, it is almost impossible to produce solar power in Ayeyarwady Region and we haven’t approved any projects there.”

The former government signed just two major solar power deals with foreign investors, both in 2014. US-based ACO Investment Group will invest US$480 million to build two 150MW solar plants near Mandalay, both of which are due to come online this year.

Thailand’s Green Earth Power will spend $350 million on a 220MW plant in Magwe Region’s Minbu, which will take three years to build, according to the company.

Investment and advisory firm Andaman Capital Partners told The Myanmar Times in March that it is working with the Sagaing Region government to find commercial opportunities for solar power, with a view to securing a 450-acre site and generating up to 80MW of electricity.

Thai-headquartered firm CEA Project Logistics and Italy’s Fagioli signed a consortium agreement earlier this week to expand their businesses in Southeast Asia. The consortium will seek investment opportunities in the region including in Myanmar’s power sector, said the officials.

The government’s Energy Master Plan published earlier this year suggests Myanmar’s entire energy sector will require between $30 billion and $40 billion in investment over the next 15 to 20 years.

To meet demand the government aims to develop a mix of energy sources, targeting 33pc biomass, 22pc oil, 20pc coal, 13pc gas, 11pc hydro and 1pc renewable energy by 2030.