Lanka's first solar power plant commissioned
Minister Ranawaka presenting a memento to Sri Lanka’s Korea Ambassador
Choi Jong Moon.
People will never forget the era when power cuts were imposed by the
Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) due to the sharp drop in electricity
generated in the country.
This situation adversely affected the country's development
activities and the livelihood of people. Although large scale
industrialists used generators, small and medium scale industrialists
had to either closedown their workplaces temporarily or allow employees
to work on a shift basis. The sudden power interruptions also affected
the public and private sector hospitals.
When President Mahinda Rajapaksa assumed office in 2005, he closely
monitored the situation and took prompt action to provide electricity
uninterruptedly as a national need.
The President sought the views of all those responsible in providing
electricity to the country.
Accordingly, the CEB set up several power stations such as the
Norochcholai coal power plant, the Sampur plant in Trincomalee, the Uma
Oya power project, the Kerawalapitiya project and the Upper Kotmale
Some power stations have already been commissioned, while others are
still under construction.
MP Namal Rajapaksa unveiling the plaque
The first phase of the Norochcholai power plant has already been
commissioned. It will add 300 MWs to the national grid. The second phase
will commissioned next year by adding another 600 MWs to the national
Sri Lanka's first solar power plant commissioned at Magampura in
Hambantota last week will add 500 KWs to the national grid. This was
constructed at a cost of Rs. 413 million with financial assistance from
the Korean International Co-operation Agency (KOICA).
The average daily electricity generation from the solar power plant
is estimated to be 2300 kWh. It will add 839,500 kWh annually to the
The construction work of the solar power plant commenced in September
last year and it was completed within a short period of 12 months.
The solar power plant is constructed on a fifty acre land acquired by
the Government. It has 2150 panels which will provide power to at least
800 rural homes in the district.
The plaque was unveiled by Power and Energy Minister Patali Champika
Ranawaka at the invitation of Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa.
Minister Ranawaka said Sri Lanka will have to depend only on
renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind power after four
decades. The Minister said that the country generates electricity from
hydro power, thermal and coal power.
He said although Sri Lanka is blessed with adequate water resources,
electricity generation will decline due to severe droughts. He said that
there will be a shortage of fuel and coal in another 40 to 50 years and
we have to seek other alternative sources of energy .
He said although several rural houses generate electricity from solar
power. It is high time to introduce the system to the rest of country.
He also thanked KOICA for the co-operation extended to set up the
solar power plant and said this program will further strengthen the
friendship between the Republic of Korea and Sri Lanka.
The Minister said that the country will be able to stop importing
over 200,000 litres of diesel due to solar power generation.
Pix. P.W. Kodituwakku-Hambantota District Group
It will also lead to a reduction of over 600 tonnes of carbon
emission from fuel and coal power.
Hambantota District MP Namal Rajapaksa said that the name of
Hambantota will be written in golden letters due to the setting up of
the country's first Sola Power plant and that similar power plants will
be set up in the district as the environment in Hambantota is conducive
to set up solar power plants.
He said Hambantota has become the hub of Asia following the setting
up of an international harbour, the Mattala Airport, the International
Cricket Stadium at Sooriyawewa and the newly established solar power
He said steps have already been taken to set up an international
Information Technology Park in Hambantota next year and these programs
will also help the Government to generate a large number of employment
Chairman Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority (SLSEA), Dr. Keeerthi
Dissanayaka said the construction of more solar power plants in the
district will help to provide electricity to more houses in the future.
SLSEA, Director General, Dr. Thusitha Sugathapala said the fossil age
will be replaced by the fuel in the near future with the setting up of
more solar power stations in the country. He said the whole world has
focused attention towards generating electricity from solar and wind
power, which are cheap and environmental friendly.
Power distribution centre
The Sunday observer also spoke to several villagers on the setting up
of this solar power project.
Many of them are of the view that such a power project will be able
to develop the area to a greater extent.
Govin Sirisena, a farmer said his area which has no proper roads,
highways or an irrigation network could be developed to a greater extent
with the setting up of the solar power plant. Sixty-four year old Mary
Nona, a mother of four children said that setting up a solar power plant
in her area is unbelievable.