New solar project for Indonesia
A new 200 megawatt solar power plant has been announced for eastern Java in Indonesia in a new joint venture between Indonesian firm Basel Investindo and Chinese state company Shanghai Aerospace Automobile Electromechanical (SAAE).
They signed a memorandum of understanding with the directorate general for renewable energy at the Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry at a renewable energy exhibition in Jakarta on several solar projects.
The USD600 million 200 MW project was enthusiastically promoted by the president director of Basel Investindo, Edwin Henawan Soekowati, according to the Jakarta Post. “Indonesia is now a net importer of oil. Looking forward, fossil fuel is getting more expensive. Now the government is chasing coal, but that will also run out one day. That’s why solar panel technology must be developed,” he said.
SAAE's Hong Kong arm set-up a joint venture company with Basel, with SAAE taking a majority 51 per cent stake and, according to SAAE, there were intentions for another 1MW project but details were scarce.
“The Chinese state company has expertise in making solar panels ... this kind of technology suits the need of Indonesia’s rural areas, which have not yet been touched by electricity,” said Soekowati.
He went on to defend the economics of the deal, admitting the cost of building a solar-powered plant was more expensive than a coal-fired power plant but argued that running costs were lower. It costs USD3 million per megawatt of electricity capacity generated from solar panels in capital investment, with coal costing half that.