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Yoma JV builds 250 micro solar-hybrid power plants for rural Myanmar
YOMA Micro Power (YMP) has finished building 250 micro solar-hybrid power plants which will help power rural Myanmar, it said on Friday.
YMP, a joint venture of Myanmar-focused Yoma Strategic Holdings, finished setting up the power plants after it initially started the rollout to build them in March 2019.
YMP had in February raised an additional US$40 million from its shareholders to fund growth in the off-grid sector and expand its business into grid connected solar systems, it added. The company started piloting a number of small roof-top grid connected solar systems in 2018.
Previously, Yoma and AC Energy, the energy platform of Philippine conglomerate Ayala Corp, had invested at least US$30 million in YMP.
The power plants are powering 250 off-grid telecom towers which previously relied on diesel power.
They will offset more than 5,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions annually, which is equivalent to planting 75,000 trees, YMP said.
As part of YMP's business model in Myanmar, mobile network operators and tower companies are its anchor clients, and they buy electricity generated by the power plants at a cost lower than diesel.
The connection is extended to nearby communities which include households, schools, shops and businesses through mini-grid distribution networks. Rural households can pay for the electricity using cash or through Wave Money, a mobile financial services provider.
A grid electricity tariff announced by the Myanmar government last year made solar an economically and environmentally attractive source of electricity for large commercial and industrial customers in the country, said YMP.
Mainboard-listed Yoma Strategic owns a 35 per cent stake in YMP, while the International Finance Corporation and Norway's private equity firm Norfund each hold 30 per cent. The remaining 5 per cent is held by YMP's chief executive officer Alakesh Chetia.
"With about 60 per cent of Myanmar’s people having no access to the grid, the lack of a reliable supply of electricity is one of the biggest bottlenecks for economic development in the country," said Melvyn Pun, chief executive officer, Yoma Strategic.
He added there were also immense opportunities and YMP can help "in bridging Myanmar’s rural electrification gap" and "spur sustainable and inclusive economic growth".
Yoma Strategic shares were down 0.5 Singapore cent or 2.4 per cent to 20.5 cents as at 2.20pm.