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Kamworks will harness sun to power residential tower

A man attaches electrical cables to solar panels that cover the outside of building in Phnom Penh in 2014.
A man attaches electrical cables to solar panels that cover the outside of building in Phnom Penh in 2014. Vireak Mai

Kamworks will harness sun to power residential tower

Kamworks Utility has clinched a deal to install and operate what could be the first commercial solar power system on a high-end residential tower in Cambodia, contributing to efforts to reduce elevated electricity costs through renewable energy, a company representative said yesterday.

The Dutch-founded solar energy provider will pay for the installation and maintenance of solar panels on the roof of Silvertown Metropolitan, a 110-unit serviced apartment tower in the capital’s upscale Boueng Keng Kang 1 neighbourhood operated by local property management firm Naki Group. The photovoltaic (PV) panels will provide approximately 12 per cent of the building’s energy demand and reduce its dependence on grid electricity, the price of which is one of the highest in the region.

According to Ken Bradley, Kamworks’ director of business development, it is the first project in Cambodia to put solar panels on a residential tower, though other commercial buildings such as hotels have also begun investing in solar energy for their facilities.

“The system investment is $66,000, which is being financed with [proceeds from] a group of Kamworks Utility projects being developed in Cambodia in early 2017,” Bradley said. “Kamworks Utility will own the project for 25 years and be responsible for insuring and maintaining the solar system.”

The agreement between Kamworks and Naki Group is a power purchase agreement (PPA), where Silvertown Metropolitan will buy the energy produced from the solar panels directly from Kamworks at lower rates than those offered through the grid by the state electricity provider, Electricite du Cambodge (EdC). Just how much lower, Bradley won’t say, citing concerns over his competitors.

However, he estimates once the panels are installed the project will offset 56 tonnes of harmful carbon dioxide emissions annually. He expects the installation to be completed by early 2017.

Veasna Meas, CEO of Naki Group, expects the solar panels will provide some positive cost benefits for the building’s tenants. This type of solar energy production could also see greater popularity in the future, especially if developers plan for solar integration before construction, he said.

“There are many factors to consider when installing panels, especially on rooftops, such as the weight load, direction of building, façade, designs, and available space to put the panels, which all has an effect on the development costs,” he said.

“Some existing buildings may need modifications to fit the panels, however, with new solar technology and costs, there are new developments that include solar into their designs and we expect to see more in the coming future.”

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