Solar Energy Potential
Because of its geographical location, Myanmar has abundant solar irradiation as indicated by the solar resource map in Fig. 1. World Bank has already done intensive study on the estimation of solar resource potential in Myanmar with validation of results at eight selected sites in different regions of Myanmar. Myanmar has annual global horizontal irradiation of between 1000 and 1900 kWh/m2. As seen in the Figure, the intensity of irradiation is the strongest in the central regions such as Magway, Mandalay and Bago Regions with horizontal irradiation of larger than 1600 kWh/m2 indicating promising solar energy potential.
Figure 1. Global horizontal irradiation in Myanmar (Source: The World Bank)
Figure 2 shows PV power potential of Myanmar estimated by Solargis and the World Bank . The yield value as shown in kWp varies from 1000 to 1700 kWp. The largest potential sites were reported in Magway, Mandalay, lower Sagaing Region, upper Bago Region, and some parts of Rakhine, Chin, and Shan States. Annual power generation by solar PV is estimated to be 748.3 MW/m2a with the PV mounted at fixed stand at tilt angle of 12˚ to 32˚ to the equator. These results indicate that Myanmar has potential for medium- and large-scale solar PV power plants. The prioritization of solar energy in the drafted renewable energy policy is therefore appropriate based on available solar power potential.
Figure 2. Annual photovoltaic power potential in Myanmar (Source: The World Bank)
Installed Capacity of Solar PV
Figure 3 shows current installed capacity and planned capacity of solar home, mini-grid and grid-connected solar PV in Myanmar as of 2018. As seen in the figure, solar PV spread wide all over Myanmar except Kachin and Kayah state. It can also be concluded that mini-grid solar PV system spreads wide along the central plain of Myanmar not yet reaching to the mountainous area. This may be because of transportation cost and difficulty in logistics. Grid-connected solar farms with capacity over 100 MW have also been planned in Mandalay and Magway region. Implementation of solar farm in Magway has already been started. As seen in Fig. 11, the dominant capacity for solar is for grid-connect system. Mini-grid solar systems are yet very much limited. Overall, compared to solar potentials in Myanmar (748.3 MW/m2a), deployment of solar PV is still very limited. Therefore, more studies and plans should be conducted on the expansion of solar PV sector in Myanmar with proper policy and planning.
Figure 3. Installed and planned capacity of solar PV in Myanmar)
Figure 4. Current installed capacity of solar PV in Myanmar
Figure 5. Current status of multi-dimensional factors for solar energy deployment
Figure 5 shows the results of respondents’ perception on the current status of important multidimensional factors for the deployment of solar energy. One hundred percent means that respondents believe that the dimensional factors are ready or sufficient for solar energy development while zero percent means they are not ready or insufficient. As seen in the figure, for the solar energy development, existing policy and regulatory framework are not sufficient since the result is lower than 50% while research, infrastructure and human resources are second critical factor to be improved for deployment of solar energy. technological and economic factors have yet to be improved also since their results are 60% and 66%. However, for the social and environmental factors, people are aware of the importance and benefits of solar energy as indicated by the higher result of 76%. Detailed factors in each dimension were also analyzed to find out the critical factor to be considered for solar energy deployment.
Proposed Driving Factors to be considered in Renewable Energy Policy
Fig. 6 shows responses on the importance of driving factors for solar energy deployment in Myanmar. As seen in the figure, the ratings for all driving factors are very strong with 100% except for system integration (75%). Therefore, all driving factors are needed to be considered in the policy actions for deployment of solar energy in Myanmar.
Figure 6. Driving factors for solar energy deployment