Sunday Observer Online


Sunday, 14 August 2011





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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 power station.

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 grid.

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 national grid.

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.

Solar panels
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 plant.

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 opportunities.

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.



LANKAPUVATH - National News Agency of Sri Lanka
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