Source: “Renewable Energy and Sustainable Development in Southeast Asia: Challenges, Cooperation and Development Models” , AVI KAS Book 2021 Renewable Energy in Southeast Asia

Thomas Jakobsen, Indochina Energy Partners

Indochina Energy Partners Pte. Ltd. (IEP) was established in 2017 in Singapore. We provide renewable energy installation, maintenance, and financing solutions for commercial and industrial factory owners. IEP is the Southeast Asia representative office of Norsk Solar, a Norwegian developer of solar power plants, a subsidiary of the largest private developer of wind parks in Norway (NV Group). Norsk Solar has more than 850 MW of renewable energy projects commissioned.

Rooftop solar installations in the Commercial and Industrial sector (C&I) offer an excellent opportunity for adding power generating capacity with some features:

  • Fast (a rooftop solar system can be commissioned within 3-5 months of agreements)
  • Low/No expenditure for EdC
  • Access to renewable energy for companies with international commitments
  • High quality (if installed by credible companies) generator with 20+ year expected asset life to help meet growing electricity demands on the grid
  • Mobilise private sector funding (reduce EdC expenditure)

Cambodian regulations on renewable energy are good for developing rooftop solar projects for three main reasons:

  • The high (but still reasonable) electricity prices from EdC make rooftop solar competitive.
  • The rules from 2020 are clear and fair on the economic consequences of installing rooftop solar for factories with only minor electricity demand in off-peak times.
  • The rules link solar generation with electricity consumption.

This means that solar installation companies can assist government objectives of increasing clean energy and reducing electricity costs to customers in a way that is manageable by EdC.

Under the current regulations, the benefits of rooftop solar are limited to the system owners. However, a typical C&I customer does not operate on Sundays or public holidays providing the opportunity for unused
solar power to be sold to EdC (we suggest a price of 6 – 7 US cents/kWh – very cheap compared to C&I electricity tariffs for consumption) and fed directly into the distribution network to power nearby load.

C&I customers paying upfront for solar installations incentivise low-cost, low-quality systems which may perform poorly and introduce a risk of electrical fires. We are able to finance C&I rooftop installations in the entire SE-Asian region. We would appreciate that the rules on equipment leasing and performance payments on delivery of power were simplified and clarified in Cambodia, thereby ensuring high quality, reliable systems are installed and operated.