The military regime is seeking tenders to implement 12 solar power projects to raise foreign currency, with some 40 firms including Thai and Chinese companies planning to make bids.
Bids for the 12 solar power projects were invited on May 24 and tenders are to be submitted by August 11. The projects are planned to be built in Mandalay, Bago, Magwe and Sagaing Regions and Shan State, with each one expected to generate between 20 to 40 megawatts of electricity.
“Many of the companies that are planning to bid have no experience in solar power production. But experienced companies are not bidding because they doubt the economic feasibility of the projects,” said a director of a local energy company which has previously bid for solar power projects.
The majority of domestic energy firms are not interested in the tender as the price of raw materials is soaring in the global market, while domestic electricity demand is unlikely to increase significantly as Myanmar is barely receiving new foreign investment.
Five Chinese firms: Union Resources & Engineering, State Grid Corporation of China, Huaneng Lancang River Hydropower Inc, China CAME Engineering, Power China Hydropower Development Group, and four Thai firms: Pro Engineering Co, SS Alliance, PCS Machine Group and Future Energy, have expressed interest in the project.
Among the local companies planning to bid are Myanmar Thilawa SEZ Holdings, a listed firm on the Yangon Stock Exchange, IGE Power Co, which is owned by a son of U Aung Thaung who served as Industry Minister for the junta that ruled before 2010, Creation Myanmar Group of Companies, which operate the Orange supermarket chain, and Ayeyar Hinthar Holdings, an agricultural firm which also owns Victoria Hospital.
Other companies interested include the Malaysian-owned Muhibbah Myanmar, RJE Myanmar, an Australian-owned engineering and construction company, hydropower companies and international firms.
When tenders were invited for the first time last year for 30 solar power projects under the National League for Democracy government, 52 companies submitted bids. Most were Chinese, with others from Japan, Singapore, Korea, Thailand, India, as well as western countries and local joint ventures.
Most of the tenders were won by Chinese firms.
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