A transition to clean energy such as solar can help Cambodia address some of its development challenges.

The Asian Development Bank is a key enabler of this transformation. It is mobilizing financing from the public and private sectors to help Cambodia adopt solar energy.


Phnom Penh, Cambodia - Cambodia is one of the fastest-growing economies in Asia today.

However, over-reliance on large hydropower and fossil fuels constrain the country’s economic competitiveness and sustainable growth prospects.

A transition to clean energy such as solar can help address some of the sector’s challenges.

“By 2030, Cambodia is committed to reducing its carbon dioxide emissions in the energy sector by 16% by transitioning to a cleaner energy

“We should move a little bit faster on solar energy,” comments H.E. Ty Norin, Secretary of State at Cambodia’s Ministry of Mines and Energy.

“If we go to the maximum of the injection of the solar to the grid, we can reduce the fossil sources that we use.

“Also we can reduce import from Viet Nam, Laos and Thailand. This will make us more reliable, more security on the power sources.”

ADB is a key enabler of this transformation. It is mobilizing financing from the public and private sectors to help Cambodia adopt solar energy.

Cambodia’s first 10 MW solar plant in Bavet City, Svay Rieng Province, was bid out in February 2016.

The project was financed by ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department and the plant began operations in October 2017.

Businesses and households in Bavet are benefiting from more reliable and affordable electricity from the solar plant.

“Our zone is expanding every year, it was slowed down because of lack of power and after two years ago, the power is coming in, so the people are coming in for investments,” explains Larry Kao, Managing Director of Manhattan SEZ.

It also promotes development in the area and provides employment opportunities to local communities

After I work here, I get a better and happy life,” says Thun Nget, who works for Sunseap Group.

“I have money to support my living and build a new home. It is a good life and nothing to worry about.”

Building on the success of the Bavet project and its ongoing assistance to the energy sector in Cambodia, ADB, through Climate Investment Funds, is supporting the government in constructing a 100 MW solar power park and transmission lines to the national grid.

“Following the success of the 10 megawatts Project at Bavet, ADB worked with the government to prepare a solar roadmap that identifies the extent to which solar energy can meet the country’s power needs,” says Pradeep Tharakan, a climate change specialist at the Asian Development Bank.

“This National Solar Park Project combines the expertise of ADB’s sovereign operations and ADB’s Office of Public-Private Partnerships,” says Kampong Chhnang from EDC about the 100 MW solar power park.

“ADB is providing assistance to the government to build park infrastructure and transmission lines, and to competitively procure the power plant.”

The first 60 MW plant was bid out in February 2019, attracting more than 100 companies from around the world.

“So through this competitive process, we will produce the best competitive tariff for the consumers in Cambodia and that will be for the benefit of Cambodia as a nation,” H.E. Keo Rattanak, a Minister attached to the Prime Minister of Cambodia and Managing Director of EDC.

“Solar will have more economic contribution to make on top of the environmental footprint that of course we welcome very warmly.”

The flagship solar project supports ADB’s strategy in promoting green and sustainable growth in Cambodia.

“It will pave the way for more similar large-scale solar projects supported by the private sector, providing sustainable energy sources and stimulating economic growth,” Sunniya Durrani-Jamal, Country Director of the ADB Cambodia Resident Mission.