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Jakarta Post

Coal miner builds solar power plants to provide electricity in remote areas

  • News Desk

    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, February 28, 2020   /   10:30 am
Coal miner builds solar power plants to provide electricity in remote areas A worker inspects the 600 kWp solar power plant on Gili Trawangan Island in Lombok, West Nusa Tenggara. (PLN/PLN)

Coal miner PT Sumber Energi Sukses Makmur (SESM) will build a solar power station in South Sumtarai in cooperation with local palm oil plantation company PT Golden Blossom Sumatra as part of its expansion into renewable energy.

According to a memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed in Jakarta on Thursday, SESM will build a solar power station with a capacity of 10.5 megawatts (MW) to meet the electricity needs of the plantation company.

Speaking to reporters after the signing of the MoU, SESM president director Zulfia Mirza said the installation of the solar panels and other devices for the solar power plant would start in July.

“We’re clearing land for the solar farm, which covers around 12 hectares. The installation will begin in July,” he said. He hoped the power plant would be able to begin commercial operation in March 2022.

Read also: Jokowi kicks off UAE visit with renewable energy deal as Indonesia seeks funding for energy ambitions

Zulfia said the company would spend between US$18 million and  $20 million to build the power plant. Around 70 percent of the funds would be obtained from bank loans and the other 30 percent from the company’s own funds.

The solar power plant will solely supply electricity to Golden Blossom Sumatra under a 20-year contract. The power plant will not be connected with state-owned electricity company PT PLN’s electrical grid.

As part of its long-term expansion plan, SESM plans to build several solar power plants in a  number of regions in the country, especially in areas not connected to PLN’s electricity networks.

“Our next project will be in Batam. We will install a 5 MW solar power plant to provide electricity for a shipyard,” Zulfia said.

The installation of solar power plants and rooftop solar panels is on the rise as the government continues to encourage private companies and households to use solar energy to increase the use of renewable energy in the country.

Read also: More companies turn to solar energy to reduce rising electricity costs

At present, there are 30 solar power stations in the country operated by PLN and independent power producers (IPPs).

PLN unit Pembangkitan Jawa Bali (PJB) is also slated to begin the construction of the $129 million Cirata floating solar power plant in West Java next year, with support from Abu Dhabi renewables firm Masdar.

Once fully operational at 145 MW, Cirata will be Indonesia’s largest solar power plant, taking over the title from the existing 15 MW Likupang plant in North Sulawesi. (mpr)