PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA (15 November 2022) — A partnership between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and Electricite du Cambodge (EDC), Cambodia’s national power utility, to develop a 100-megawatt (MW) National Solar Park reached a milestone with the park’s first 60 MW solar photovoltaic (PV) power generation plant connecting to the national grid. ADB President Masatsugu Asakawa marked the occasion with a visit to the solar park on 11 November, during which he initiated 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 Mr. 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.”
The National Solar Park Project has demonstrated 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.
ADB provided end-to-end support for the project. This included delivering transmission interconnection infrastructure, roads, and drainage systems; transaction advisory support and advice to 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.
Phase I of the tender, for the first 60 MW, was organized in 2019 and awarded to the firm Prime Road Alternative. The process resulted in a record-low price for utility-scale, grid-connected solar PV in Southeast Asia, at $0.039 per kilowatt-hours (kWh). The remaining 40 MW was tendered in 2020 and awarded to Trina Solar Co. Ltd. This led to another record low procurement price for the region at $0.026 per kWh.
“ADB was one of the early players in helping Cambodia increase its household access to grid electricity from 17% in 2008 to almost 90% in 2021, while also helping to reduce electricity costs nationwide,” said Minister attached to the Prime Minister and Managing Director of EDC Keo Rottanak. “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% of the total generation mix in capacity terms.”
With ADB’s continued support, including a transaction advisory services 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. Under the reference scenario in Cambodia’s recently approved Power Development Masterplan (2021–2040), which was developed with technical assistance from ADB, the share of solar PV in the country is expected to reach 1,000 MW by 2030 and exceed 3,000 MW by 2040.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.