BSIP launches 500kW solar installation

Kuensel | Sherab Lhamo and Sonam Dema | June 30, 2023

On 28 June, coinciding with the birth anniversary of Guru Rinpoche, Bhutan Solar Initiative Project (BSIP) inaugurated the 500 kW ground-mounted and grid-tied solar PV project at Dechencholing in Thimphu yesterday.

The endeavour, installation which covers a ground area of 1.2 acres, is the second of its kind under the royal command. The installation, with 784 panels, is expected to produce 835,000 units of energy annually which is equivalent to Nu 3.8 million in revenue.

A 250 kW rooftop installation on the Centenary Farmers’ Market (CFM) was completed On June 4. The 393 rooftop panels are expected to generate over 365,000 units of energy annually.

Electricity from these installations will be integrated seamlessly into the Bhutan Power Corporation’s low-voltage grid, bypassing the need for batteries.

Energy consumption in urban areas is about 5 kW per household. That means the installation at the CFM can power up to 50 households and more than 100 households can be powered by Dechencholing’s 500 kW installation.

The projects cost Nu 50 million to complete in six months.

Forty-five de-ssups were involved in the two projects besides four graduates of Technical Training Institute(TTI), three engineers, and an expert from the USA.

The BSIP was initiated under the royal command to enhance the country’s energy security, to demonstrate continued leadership in environmental conservation, establish technical and economic viability of solar PV in the country, and to build local capacity in a growing and important sector.

The phase-II of the project will install solar panels in the remaining 4.4-acres land in Dechencholing.

The project “will be implemented 100 percent by Bhutanese,” said Karma Wangdi, director of Royal Society for Science Technology Engineering and Mathematics.

The 500kW installation at Dechencholing is the largest mounted solar PV system in the country yet. CFM’s 250 kW rooftop installation is the biggest solar rooftop installation in the country.