The LOLC group company, Sagasolar Power (Private) Limited (Sagasolar), announced the opening of the first-ever utility-scale solar power plant in Sri Lanka.
The plant, based in Baruthankanda, Hambantota, has the capacity to produce 10 MW of power that will be supplied to the national grid. Sagasolar is a subsidiary of the LOLC group and is a collaboration with Faber Capital Limited.
The development of this landmark plant is in line with Sri Lanka’s national energy policy, which has the key focus of converting fossil fuel used in electricity generation to sustainable renewable sources. Sri Lanka’s renewable energy journey began with hydropower, supplemented by wind power, where this landmark project has now embarked on generation through solar power, is arguably the most abundant and sustainable energy resource available in the country.
The 10 MW solar plant is built on 45 acres of land within the energy development area declared by gazette notice 1720/5 on August 23, 2011 under the Sri Lanka Sustainable Energy Authority Act. This project, the first of its kind by the private sector, is over seven times the size of the largest solar project in Sri Lanka at present, which is the 1.3MW pilot project owned and operated by the Sustainable Energy Authority, located in Hambantota.
Hambantota has one of the highest levels of annual global horizontal irradiation (GHI) in Sri Lanka. After energizing, the project will supply approximately 20 GWh, which will be sufficient to provide the annual electricity needs of approximately 15,000 typical Sri Lankan homes. The project will also reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power generation in the national electricity system by a margin of 11,000 tonnes per year.
The power plant was ceremoniously opened on December 21, 2016 under the patronage of Power and Renewable Energy Minister Ranjith Siyambalapitiya and Power and Renewable Energy Deputy Minister Ajith P. Perera. The project debt is financed by a banking consortium experienced in renewable energy projects, with DFCC Bank taking the largest exposure followed by Commercial Bank and Hatton National Bank.
The project is a collaboration between the LOLC group and Faber Capital Limited, the key equity providers.
“At LOLC, we believe our achievements in sustainability are more than fulfilling a responsibility or a feather in our cap; it is embedded in our business model and has made us who we are today. In the recent years, renewable energy has gained prominence in the Sri Lankan economy and the LOLC group is poised to play a key role in enhancing our commitment in environmental stewardship. We are highly excited to venture into solar power generation, first of its kind and magnitude by the private sector, reflecting our true passion for a greener tomorrow,” said LOLC Group Deputy Chairman Ishara Nanayakkara. Faber Capital Limited is a boutique investment bank which specializes in the implementation and financing of renewable energy projects in Asia, Africa and the Middle East. Faber Capital Managing Director Dilshan Hettiaratchi said, “We are indeed honoured to be involved in the development of Sri Lanka’s first utility-scale solar project. Generation of energy from solar power is the next frontier in Sri Lanka’s energy generation journey. The country has successfully harnessed sustainable resources for generation of energy needs for over half a century.
The main resources used were hydro, with wind supplementing generation capacity over the last decade. With this exciting project, solar has also been introduced to the generation mix.
We at Faber Capital invested in this landmark project over a year ago and combined the implementation and financing elements required to complete the project. We hope this project will be a catalyst to popularize energy generation through solar power, which is arguably the most sustainable green resource available in the country.”