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Solar: The Future of Power Resilience

By Tessa Morton

It is estimated that 65% of Myanmar’s population lacks access to grid electricity - whilst this problem is more common in rural areas, urban areas also suffer from inadequate reliability. Continued economic growth and an urbanising population suggest that electricity demand is set to increase for the foreseeable future. Myanmar Energy Outlook 2020 estimates that total final energy consumption will rise at an average rate of 3% per year to 2040. The World Bank estimates that achieving the 2015 National Energy Plan’s target of 100% household electrification by 2030 will require a total investment of more than USD30bn. The problem is real, and the investment needed to fix it is huge.

Myanmar’s Sustainable Development Plan Strategy 5.4 is to provide affordable and reliable energy to populations and industries via an appropriate energy generation mix (MSDP 2018-2030). This includes scaling up the use of renewable energy resources such as solar.

Indeed, the abundance of sun and the rapid reduction in cost of solar panels and battery storage has made solar power a viable alternative to grid connection in Myanmar. Yoma Micro Power (YMP) builds, owns, operates and maintains small-scale power plants and mini-grids for off-grid rural customers and rooftop grid-tied solar systems for commercial customers. YMP’s mission is to develop a better Myanmar for its people by harnessing sustainable energy resources.

Yoma Land has already embraced the provision of renewable energy to serve its communities. YMP’s first grid-tied solar system (26kWp) became active in March 2018 at The Campus (Yoma Group’s HQ in Pun Hlaing). In May 2018, a 52kWp installation was commissioned on the rooftop of residential A5 building in StarCity. kWp stands for kilowatt ‘peak’ of a photovoltaic system, and it is how the power generation is estimated.

In further efforts to provide additional renewable energy to our communities, Yoma Land is partnering again with YMP and proposing to install ground-mounted solar farms at both Pun Hlaing and StarCity estates. These are estimated to provide 2,956kWp and 1,900kWp respectively, which will significantly reduce Yoma Land’s use of grid electricity and of diesel (which is used to power back-up generators during municipal supply outages). As solar energy is green energy, it provides environmental benefits in terms of co2 emissions into the environment. It is estimated that the solar farms combined will save almost 4,000 tonnes of co2 emission per annum – that’s equivalent to emissions from 10,000 barrels of oil!

The solar cells produce direct current electricity using light (not just sunlight), which can be used to power equipment and to recharge batteries. These individual cells are then connected to form photovoltaic modules (solar panels). The solar farms in Pun Hlaing and StarCity will also provide social and educational benefits – the communities will be invited to visit the solar farms to learn about the systems.


About Tessa Morton

Ms Tessa Morton has 18 years’ town planning & development experience in UK, Indonesia & Myanmar. She has worked in Myanmar for the last 6 years, for Yoma Land on Yoma Central (as Environmental & Social Compliance and Approvals Manager) and Star City Thanlyin (as Real Estate Development Planner). Her work covers all disciplines related to masterplanning including urban design, transport, flooding, infrastructure, permitting and environmental & social compliance. She has also worked as City Planner for New Yangon Development Company.

Prior to Myanmar, Tessa worked as masterplanner for Lippo Karawaci managing large scale integrated development planning for projects across Indonesia. In the UK, Tessa worked at Jones Lang LaSalle, providing town planning advice to clients including BBC, Imperial College London, ExCeL Exhibition Centre and Wind Farm developers. Tessa started her career in telecommunications deployment, providing environmental & town planning support to deployment for Bechtel, Hutchison 3G & Vodafone.

Tessa is a Chartered Member of the Royal Town Planning Institute. She studied in the UK, obtaining BSc (Joint Honours) Geography and Town & Country Planning, MSc Real Estate Management and MA Town Planning.

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