The Australian Embassy in Laos and the United Kingdom Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) are partnering with Lao Holding State Enterprise (LHSE) to strengthen the planning, financing, and management of floating solar projects in Laos.
Through FCDO and Australia’s Partnerships for Infrastructure initiative, technical support to LHSE will include capacity building on workshops on renewable energy and floating solar engineering, along with financial advice on the construction and operation of such projects.
“Both Australia and the UK are investing in large floating solar plants at home and have lessons to share with Laos on project development, financing, and operations,” said Australian Ambassador to Laos, Paul Kelly.
Floating solar or floating photovoltaics (FPV) are solar panels mounted on a structure that floats on a body of water, typically a reservoir or a lake such as drinking water reservoirs, quarry lakes, irrigation canals, or remediation and tailing ponds.
Such systems have an advantage over solar panels on land as they cost less than the price of the land they are located on, along with fewer rules and regulations for structures built on bodies of water not used for recreational purposes.
During the signing ceremony, Ambassador Kelly said, “Floating solar is an important new technology option for Laos that can be used in conjunction with hydropower to help provide year-round energy stability.”
Hybrid energy generation will seek to help address the shortage of year-round baseload power in Laos, which is critical to improving energy stability and expanding energy export capability.
Capacity building workshops will strengthen LHSE’s understanding of floating solar technologies, trends in renewable energy procurement, and sustainable financing, said Mr. Cashel Gleeson, Charge d’Affaires from the British Embassy in Laos.
“The UK and Australia are working together to enhance the capacity of the LHSE to plan and manage floating solar projects which will help Laos access climate finance and help the country achieve its green economy ambitions,” he continued.
The technical workshops and energy tours to Thailand for LHSE staff are scheduled for late 2023. The collaboration with the UK complements Australia’s wider renewable energy planning and technology support through the Laos-Australia Sustainable Energy Partnership (LASEP), signed by Australia’s Foreign Minister Penny Wong in May 2023.