The Ministry of Environment and the UN Development Programme (UNDP) in Cambodia officially launched a solar power plant and battery storage system at the Kesor Kol Sok An Phnom Kulen Research and Conservation Centre on Kulen mountain in Siem Reap province.
A ceremony to inaugurate the new system was held on January 27 and attended by representatives of the ministry, the Swedish embassy and other development partners as well as park rangers and community members.
Environment minister Say Sam Al noted that the solar power system was the first to be installed at a research centre in Cambodia, and it would play an important role in facilitating the centre’s work to identify and preserve of native plants like the Kesor Kol (wild orchid) and animals, particularly threatened, rare and endangered species.
Sam Al lauded the achievement as a new step in developing sustainable infrastructure for the future. The solar plant has a generating capacity of 32kW with an 87kWh battery storage system.
He described the development of the centre as intended to promote cooperation in scientific research, exchanges of knowledge and technology, and understanding of the importance of ecosystems, biodiversity and sustainability.
“Our research centre will contribute to the diversification of the local economy, especially tourism, connecting culture and nature, and will create employment options and additional sources of income to improve the livelihoods of local people in line with government policy,” Sam Al said.
Siem Reap deputy provincial governor Ngan Phirun expressed support for the project, noting that solar power generation does not damage the environment and could serve as a model for businesses in the province and elsewhere that are not yet connected to the national power grid.
He added that the centre has been working to conserve, breed and restore endangered species. The preservation of wildlife also facilitates opportunities for public outreach and education to raise awareness of issues related to wildlife and environmental protection.
UNDP deputy resident representative Sonali Dayaratne praised the achievement as an environmentally responsible effort to protect biodiversity in line with Cambodia’s response to climate change.
“The international expert working group and the NCSD’s Department of Biodiversity have been collecting wildlife species from Phnom Kulen and other areas for further recording and identification,” she said, referring to the National Council for Sustainable Development.
NCSD Department of Green Economy director Taing Meng Eang explained that the initiative to install the solar power system for the environment ministry was implemented with financial and technical support from the UNDP, the government and development partners.
“This solar power plant can produce around 150kWh per day and will provide electricity every day for equipment at the station including air conditioners and water pumps,” he said.