Japanese-owned electronics manufacturer Minebea (Cambodia) Co Ltd has unveiled plans for a $45 million 50MW solar farm to power its production and feed into the national grid, in support of eco-friendly, renewable energy source development.

Minebea Cambodia operates a single factory in the Kingdom, in the Royal Group Phnom Penh Special Economic Zone southwest of the capital’s airport.

At a meeting with Minister of Mines and Energy Suy Sem on August 23, Minebea Cambodia managing director Yoshihiro Sakanushi said his firm’s transition to renewable energy was motivated by commitments to sustainable development made by major clients and partners. He named Apple and Toyota as examples.

Sakanushi said the new project would also support investment and development projects across various sectors in Cambodia.

Ministry director-general for energy Heng Kunleang told The Post that his ministry would support the project as long as Minebea follows the legal principles regarding solar energy development, commenting that the Kingdom aims to increase the use of renewable and eco-friendly energy sources to the “maximum levels” feasible.

“The ministry is developing a master plan for the development of the electricity sector and energy efficiency projects, and is working with the Asian Development Bank to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, participating in climate change response activities in the energy sector, and supporting a clean-energy transition towards carbon neutrality,” he said.

However, he noted, private investment in the field must be compliant with the Law on Public-Private Partnerships, and regulated under the associated legal framework.

Cambodia Chamber of Commerce vice-president Lim Heng remarked that the high cost of electricity in the Kingdom prompts many private businesses to add solar power to their facilities and stem their expenses.

“Still, solar energy use is low and is not yet able to fully power production processes, due to a total dependence on sunlight,” he said.

According to Yoshihisa Kainuma, CEO of Minebea Cambodia’s parent company MinebeaMitsumi Inc, the company increased its capital investment in Cambodia from about $372 million in 2018 to $400 million in 2019.