KATHMANDU, Nov 27: A 10 MW solar plant will be installed at the Gautam Buddha International Airport (GBIA) that is under construction in Bhairahawa of Rupandehi district.
The Ministry of Energy, Water resources and Irrigation and Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation on Friday discussed the possibility of electricity supply by setting up a solar plant at the airport.
The meeting has directed the concerned officials at the two ministries and Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to prepare a detailed blueprint for the establishment of solar plant and submit it to their respective ministers within a week.
There is a plan to operate a 10 MW capacity solar plant on the vacant land of Bhairahawa Airport through the private sector with the assistance of the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
Of the Rs 18.5 billion provided by ADB to Nepal for solar plants, the process of generating 5 MW in Jhapa, 7 MW in Butwal, 4 MW in Pokhara and 8 MW in Chanauta has already started. The NEA has also signed power purchase agreements for the plants to be constructed in Butwal and Pokhara.
As all the funds provided by the ADB will not be spent on these projects and the airport is in the need of energy to operate its service, government officials said the plan to have a solar plant with a capacity of 10 MW for the airport was made recently, according to the Energy Ministry.
The land required for the construction of solar plant will be leased by Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN) to NEA for 25 years. The land lease agreement is being signed directly between NEA and CAAN as leasing it to the private sector would be burdensome and time consuming. NEA is proposing to hand over the construction of the solar plant to the private sector and purchase the generated electricity and supply it to the airport.
Speaking at the meeting, Minister for Energy Barshaman Pun said solar plants are also necessary for the balance of alternative energy even as the country is set to become self-reliant in hydropower. He directe0d concerned stakeholders to bring a suitable proposal within a week.
Also speaking on the occasion, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai said it will send a good message across the world if the airport is operated through solar power.