KATHMANDU, Feb. 18 (Xinhua) -- Under its energy diversification plan, Nepal's power monopoly which has so far been focused on hydropower development has announced to launch first solar power project with an aim to complete it by 2015, officials said.
After the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) failed to introduce effective measures to curb a 12-hour-long load shedding in the power hunger Nepal, the government-owned institution began to look for the promotion of alternative energy.
"Given the changing scenario in the energy sector worldwide, the NEA is of the opinion that it should also begin tapping solar power to utilize natural resources to the maximum," NEA Managing Director Arjun Karki told Xinhua by phone.
He said his institution has been preparing to develop the solar power for the first time as a trial.
NEA so far has been focusing on the development of hydropower projects. However, constraints of finance for development of mega power projects, obsolete laws and longer time involved in development of hydro projects has, of late, prompted NEA to switch towards the tapping of alternative power potential.
"As the solar power project can be completed within a short time, we have begun to work towards setting up a solar energy project under the financial assistance of World Bank," NEA deputy managing director Ramchandra Pandey told Xinhua by phone.
Pandey said that the NEA has been surveying some of its unused lands for setting up solar power project across the country.
As it requires 20,000 square meter land for setting up 1 MW solar plant and 400,000 square meter land for establishing 20 MW project, the NEA has been planning to develop the projects in segregated manner, at several locations.
Once the land plots are identified, the World Bank will carry feasibility and environmental impact study and then flout an expression of interest asking the interested contractors to construct the project.
"We will begin the construction of project from March this year and complete 10 MW constructions within April 2015 and the rest within December of the same year," added Pandey.