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Jakarta Post

Solar energy not just clean, but also economically sound, says expert

  • Rachmadea Aisyah

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Thu, January 18, 2018   /   10:53 am
Solar energy not just clean, but also economically sound, says expert Residents on Maratua Island in East Kalimantan use a combination of solar energy and a windmill to generate electricity. (JP/Syafrizaldi)

Photovoltaic energy is not only a clean energy source, but it can be economically sound, particularly if it is developed in remote areas that lack access to the main electricity network, said Priyavrat Bhati, the director for energy and industry of the India-based Centre for Science and Environment.

He explained that solar-based electricity in Indonesia costs between 6 to 13 US cents per kilowatt-hour (kWh), but it was still below the electricity generated from diesel, which could cost up to US 25 cents per kWh in remote areas.

“We are not saying solar can replace coal or gas [as a main source of energy] here, but Indonesia has [electricity] access issues that can be solved by something that makes sense economically,” Bhati told The Jakarta Post on the sidelines of a discussion in Jakarta on Wednesday.

Therefore, solar power is not only a cleaner energy solution but also a more sensible one, he added.

According to the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry, Indonesia can harness 207,898 megawatts (MW) worth of electricity from solar-based power plants, but only 0.04 percent of that has been realized as of 2016.

“However, state-owned electricity firm PLN has signed 70 new contracts worth 1,200 MW with independent power producers in 2017,” the ministry’s director for renewable energy, Harris Yahya, said at the same event. (bbn)