Indonesia 'plans rural solar push'

The Indonesian government wants to see 36 new solar power plants throughout the country, particularly in rural parts of the archipelago, say local reports.

An official from Indonesia’s energy ministry told the The Jakarta Globe newspaper that the government wants to work with undisclosed partners to assess the feasibility of a range of PV projects, with plans to raise the number of major solar installations to 153 this year, up from 117 at the end of 2012.

A ministry official told the Globe that national and provincial authorities have allocated 1trn rupiah ($103m) to build solar plants this year, up from 700bn rupiah in 2012.

This month the ministry published a map showing solar radiation levels across the archipelago, with Bali, Lombok, Sumba, Flores, northern Sulawesi and the Tanimbar Islands among the areas offering the greatest potential for future PV projects.

There was no indication of the total planned capacity of the additional PV installations, and an official at the ministry declined to elaborate when contacted by Recharge.

Earlier this month, Singapore-based Alternative Energy said it would offer engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) services for solar parks run by Indonesia’s PT Mega Urip Pesona.

Alternative Energy will offer EPC at projects to be funded by a $600m loan from the Chinese government, as well as solar plants for which China’s LDK Solar will provide panels.  

Thailand has so far taken the lead in new installations in Southeast Asia, but Indonesia is seen by analysts as a likely source of future growth, partly due to poor access to electricity in many parts of the archipelago and the widespread use of diesel generators.