KATHMANDU: The government is to install a solar power plant for supplying electricity at Gautam Buddha International Airport in Lumbini Province.
Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun and Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Yogesh Bhattarai held discussions on installing the 10-megawatt capacity solar power plant at GBIA which is in the final stages of construction.
During discussions held at the Ministry of Energy, the two ministers exchanged views on this topic with the goal of promoting the use of clean energy. Tourism Secretary Yadav Prasad Koirala, Officiating Secretary at the Energy Ministry Praveen Aryal, Joint Secretary Madhu Prasad Bhetwal, Acting Director General at Nepal Electricity Authority Hitendra Dev Shakya, and officials of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal were also present on the occasion.
The meeting directed the ministries and NEA to prepare, within a week, a detailed outline for the installation of solar plant and submit it to the ministers. The plan includes setting up of the solar plant through the private sector and with the support of Asian Development Bank at the open ground close to Bhairahawa Airport.
It has been learnt that out of about Rs 18 billion that ADB is providing Nepal for installing solar power plants, the process has already moved ahead in connection with producing five megawatts power in Jhapa, seven megawatts in Butwal, four megawatts in Pokhara, and eight megawatts in Chanauta.
NEA has signed the power purchase agreement for the solar plants to be constructed in Butwal and Pokhara.
Energy Minister Pun said the amount provided by ADB for all these plants would not be entirely spent and that there is a plan to install 10 megawatts capacity solar plant at GBIA from the extra amount.
CAAN will provide the space required for construction of the plant to NEA on lease for 25 years. NEA has proposed that it will handover the responsibility of installing the solar power plant to the private sector, purchase the power generated from it, and supply it to GBIA.
Addressing the meeting, Energy Minister Pun said, although the country is at a stage of being self-reliant in hydropower, solar plant is also necessary for promoting alternative energy balance.
Tourism Minister Bhattarai said, it would be the best initiative and also send a positive message to the international community if the airport could be operated with solar power. He added that GBIA was in final stages of completion and it would be a model airport after installation of the solar plant. However, some technical works have not moved forward as Chinese workers are unable to come here due to the Covid-19 pandemic.