NRG leading the way as Kingdom powers towards ‘solar revolution’

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NRG Solar builds larger scale projects, such as this 100kWp installation at a water treatment plant. Photo supplied

Offering products such as Grid-Connected PV Systems, Hybrid PV Systems and Standalone PV Systems, NRG Solar is at the forefront as the Kingdom stands on the cusp of a renewable energy “revolution”.

A Phnom Penh-based company aiming to firmly establish the Cambodian solar industry, NRG Solar was established in the Kingdom in 2014.

Initially focused on rural electrification, it is now one of the leading solar companies bringing international standards to compete with foreign companies in the local sector.

“Companies such as NRG Solar are the key to Cambodia taking advantage of the Earth’s most abundant source of energy – the Sun.

“The solar energy revolution is happening, and it can no longer be overlooked, so it is important that Cambodian companies and people are the ones who benefit from this new industry.

“Thanks to government support, prices continuing to drop, the increased availability of financing and a growing local industry, Cambodia is in a unique position to take full advantage of this unavoidable revolution,” said Daniel Pacheco, the CEO of NRG Solar.

NRG Solar provides customers with a free initial assessment to demonstrate the potential benefits of installing solar energy systems. After this initial assessment, NRG can also recommend financing solutions if the projects meet certain requirements.

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Solar is increasingly being utilised in Cambodia. Photo supplied

While the company can cater for commercial and industrial customers such as factories, office buildings and off-grid resorts with its Standalone PV System, it has also developed solar kits for smaller-scale – residential and small business – use to take advantage of the technology and its improved financial and environmental benefits.

NRG says its Hybrid PV System can cost-effectively combine battery storage, a secondary power source such as a diesel generator and the electrical grid, ensuring power reliability and backup, while the Grid-Connected PV System can provide substantial savings on electric bills.

‘Time to invest in solar is now’

The Cambodian government has also taken significant steps to make solar more attractive. Since 2018, it has issued clear regulations on solar energy to guarantee grid stability, Pacheco said.

These new regulations were a great first step, he added, and more recently many agencies within the government have been collaborating and drafting new energy tariffs, which will make solar even more attractive.

“There of course there are still some improvements possible, but these initial steps already make solar very attractive for most consumers, and we expect improvements to these regulations and tariffs in the coming years.

“Despite having been some way behind its neighbours Vietnam and Thailand, Cambodia has made major strides over the past year to place itself in a position to take advantage of renewable solar power. And now, with clear and positive government regulation, affordable prices and growing financing options, solar is already an attractive option for many in Cambodia. The time to invest in solar is now.

“While there have historically been three main challenges to the uptake of solar energy – regulation and infrastructure; the large up-front costs of the technology; and a lack of investment and financing options – all these barriers are coming down.

“Prices of solar energy have already been low enough to beat traditional sources of electricity for the past couple years. This can be evidenced in the uptake of these technologies by neighbouring countries such as Vietnam and Thailand.

“But prices continue to decrease to the point where in places like China and other countries, it has become more economical to build new solar farms than to continue operating existing coal power plants. In places like Cambodia, solar is starting to become more and more attractive, with payback periods of only two to five years in most cases,” said Pacheco, who studied Mechanical Engineering at Columbia University in the US.

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NRG Solar has a skilled international team. Photo supplied

To ensure a strong local solar energy sector is serviced by skilled Cambodian engineers and installers, NRG also works closely with institutions such as the Royal University of Phnom Penh and the Institute of Technology Cambodia to build up local talent, with the company having already taken on a number of interns as full-time staff, the Venezuelan added.

Pacheco said that the feasibility of solar as a practical and affordable source of energy for all can be seen in the Cambodian government’s growing investment in the resource.

“The Cambodian government is increasingly investing in solar. As recently as September, the government announced a deal with the Asian Development Bank to heavily invest in large-scale solar farms, including utility scale battery storage, taking things one step further. This not only shows a commitment by the government to shifting to renewables, but also gives confidence to both the private sector and individuals to likewise invest in the technology.

“With all these developments in mind, Cambodia is set to be revolutionised by a very rapid uptake of solar as a key part of the energy mix. The last piece to this puzzle is in the development of a strong and mature local solar energy industry within the country to take advantage of the economic growth and job creation in this sector.

“And with all we offer, NRG Solar is perfectly placed to help Cambodians capitalise from the benefits with the solar revolution now impossible to ignore,” said Pacheco.

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The company caters for industrial as well as domestic customers. Photo supplied

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NRG is committed to building up local talent. Photo supplied