The International Finance Corporation (IFC) has taken stake in a Yoma Strategic Holdings project to power rural communities in Myanmar.
This investment will raise up to $28 million through equity and debt financing and has been supported by Canada’s contribution to the IFC-Canada Climate Change Program, according to a media statement issued by Yoma Strategic Holdings.
The investment will enable Yoma Micro Power to generate and distribute electricity using solar-based micro power plants and mini-grids to power telecom towers in rural Myanmar as well as off-grid communities.
In January 2018, Mercom reported that off-grid solar solutions have benefitted approximately 360 million people across the globe, according to the latest report by the World Bank Group’s Lighting Global Program, Dalberg Advisors, and the Global Off-Grid Lighting Association (GOGLA).
After the investment, Yoma Strategic will hold 35 percent, while Norfund and IFC will hold 30 percent each in Yoma Micro Power. The remaining 5 percent will be held by Alakesh Chetia, who is leading the initiative.
Commenting on the development, Alakesh Chetia said in a media statement, “It’s a huge compliment that IFC has chosen to partner with us as we work tirelessly to bring electricity to off-grid communities in Myanmar. Due to the rapid reduction in the cost of solar panels and batteries, solar-powered mini-grids have emerged as a viable alternative for rural electrification which can be deployed rapidly and financed with private capital. Our mini grids offer an efficient pathway to rural electrification as we are able to provide an on-grid experience to rural villages that may otherwise have to wait ten or more years to obtain grid electricity.”
After the successful completion of a 10-site pilot scheme in Sagaing Region last year, Yoma Micro Power now aims to electrify hundreds of telecommunications towers and rural communities across Myanmar by the end of 2018.
According to a report by the World Bank, only 30 percent of Myanmar’s population is connected to the electricity grid.
The Government of Myanmar, with the help of the World Bank, is currently rolling out off-grid electricity services as part its National Electrification Plan, installing solar PV systems in eight of Myanmar’s states and regions, benefiting over 2,000 villages and 140,000 households.
The National Electrification Plan of Myanmar aims to benefit approximately 2 million people by 2021 from off-grid electrification alone.
In February 2018, Mercom reported that the Asian Development Bank (ADB) had announced that it will provide a $235 million loan to B. Grimm Power Public Company Limited for the expansion of renewable energy projects in the member countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). This investment by the ADB will help B. Grimm Power’s implementation of the ASEAN Distributed Power Project, which is aimed at expanding renewable and distributed power generation into new markets in ASEAN. These new countries include: Cambodia, Indonesia, Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Vietnam.
Ankita is an editor at MercomIndia.com where she writes and edits clean energy news stories and features. With years of experience in the news business, Ankita has a nose for news and an eye for detail. Prior to Mercom, Ankita was associated with The Times of India as a copy editor for the organization’s digital news desk. She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Delhi University and a Postgraduate Diploma in journalism. More articles from Ankita Rajeshwari.