TAPAH: The large scale solar photovoltaic (LSSPV) project in Ladang Bikam, Bidor here which will start next year is expected to provide employment opportunities and bring economic benefits to the locals when completed within 18 months.

Perak Menteri Besar Datuk Seri Saarani Mohamad said the project, carried out by Ranhill Solar 1 Sdn Bhd, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ranhill Utilities Berhad, was a driver to renewable energy especially in facing the COVID-19 endemic phase.

He said the development of the project included design, supply, construction, ownership, operation and maintenance of the 50 MWac LSSPV plant to supply electricity for 21 years starting 2023.

“Solar farms have the potential to provide clean energy to support industry, agriculture and benefit a wider economy, especially in the Bidor district.

“Energy consumption is very important and relatively high in this country. Without energy, economic activities cannot run efficiently and continuously.

“The two main sources of energy are 78 per cent of gas and fuel that need to be purchased, while the rest is from sustainable energy,” he said in his speech at the groundbreaking ceremony for the project here today.

Saarani said the construction of the 73-hectare solar plant would indirectly realise the government’s intention to make Perak one of the low carbon states in the country by 2030.

“Hydropower production is often associated with threats to the environment and nearby communities, besides affecting forest ecosystems.

“The solar energy industry is seen as an ever-evolving industry and the use of solar energy will increase in the future. Not only that, pollution related to solar energy is much lower than that of other energy sources,” he said.

Meanwhile, Ranhill President Tan Sri Hamdan Mohamad said Perak was selected for the project due to the high irradiation rate at the site for the maximum generation of solar energy.

“In addition, the ground level, geographical structure, land area and distance to the power substation are also taken into account in the selection of the project site,” he said. - Bernama