Asian Development Bank finances construction of Bhutan’s first utility-scale solar PV project

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Bhutan’s government launched a tender earlier this year for the construction of its first utility-scale solar PV plant. Image: Unsplash

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has approved a US$18.26 million financing package for the construction of Bhutan’s first utility-scale solar PV plant.

The financing consists of a US$8.26 million concessional loan and a US$10 million grant from the Asian Development Fund, while the government of Bhutan will contribute US$990,000 to the project.

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With a minimum capacity of 17.38MWp, the plant will be built in the central-west of the country located in the Himalayan mountain range and will generate up to 25GWh of power annually.

The project will supported by technical assistance – US$20,000 from ADB’s technical assistance special fund and US$450,000 from South Korea’s e-Asia and knowledge partnership fund – that will support learning opportunities on climate-resilient energy systems, with women constituting 30-40% of the beneficiaries of the programme.

Moreover, the project will help the country diversify its current power generation mix that is mostly reliant on hydropower in a move similar to many other Asian countries moving to non-hydropower renewables to accelerate their energy transitions. It will also increase the energy sector’s resilience to future climate shocks, said ADB energy specialist for South Asia, Christoph Meindl.

Earlier in the year the Ministry of Economic Affairs of Bhutan launched a tender for the construction of the solar PV plant to be built in Sephu. The successful bidder would be required to complete the project, from design to commissioning, in 540 days.

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