Laos commissions viability study on solar energy

The Lao Ministry of Science and Technology signed a memorandum of understanding with the AL-PNTC Consortium to conduct a feasibility study on the development of solar energy, the state-run daily Vientiane Times reported Friday.

The memorandum of understanding dictates that AL-PNTC Consortium will conduct a feasibility study on the development of a solar power project with a capacity of 50MW and develop a model project for the transfer of technology.

According to Director General of the Ministry of Science and Technology’s Planning Cooperation Department Malaythong Kommasith, Laos has great potential for solar power generation in the flatland areas of its central and southern provinces. The development of solar power would help the advancement of the country’s Renewable Energy Development Strategy.

Solar energy has already successfully been implemented in many rural villages far removed from the existing energy grid.

Solar irradiance in Lao PDR varies between 3.6-5.5 kWh per square meter. According to the Renewable Energy Development Strategy, Laos experiences 1800-2000 hours of sunshine a year. Calculated with an overall efficiency of 10 percent, solar energy would generate 146 kWh per square meter a year.

According to the International Energy Agency, global energy consumption will increase by 50 percent of 2007 levels by 2035. As the demand for fuel, coal, natural gas and other sources of energy are increasing, so are carbon emissions and pollution which negatively affect the global environment.

Lao officials have stated that the country is considering renewable energy sources including solar power due to its environmentally friendly nature and the potential for sustainable energy use into the future.