In comparison to the other AMS countries, the development of renewable energy in Cambodia is at an early stage. Cambodia still requires additional funds and comprehensive data analysis in this sector. So far, the country does not have any specific targets for renewable energy development except for large hydro plants. It is included in PDP 2018-2021 that 2,241 MW capacity of large hydropower plants will be built by 2020, which contributes to approximately 80% of the total installed capacity.

According to the latest information released by Ministry of Mines and Energy in 2018, the capacity of the renewable energy source power plants reaches 1,017 MW where approximately 96.3% capacity comes from hydropower (Figure 3). The Cambodian hydropower energy report was prepared in 2003, by the minister of Mines and Energy. It is mentioned in the report that Cambodia has the total potential installed capacity at 10,000 MW, of which 50% is located on the mainstream Mekong, 40% on its tributaries and 10% in the southwest outside the Mekong basin. The first operated hydropower is Kamchay (193 MW) in Kampot, that has started operating in 2011.

Cambodian first large-scale solar power plant was in full operation in 2017. The 10 MWp Solar farm is located in Bavet City, Svay Rieng Province, near the border with Viet Nam. The Project is therefore expected to unlock Cambodia underutilized renewable energy resources and set an important precedent in the renewable energy sector in the country.

Cambodia's RE Installed Capacity in 2017 (%)

  • Hydro (979 MW)
  • Biomass (28 MW)
  • Solar (10 MW)

Source: Electricity Authority Cambodia (EAC): Yearly Report on Power Sector (2018)

In 2017, around 2,775.4 GWh of electricity was generated from RE sources, where the majority of domestic electricity generation comes from hydropower (97.7%). The remaining share is from biomass with 2.1% and solar (PV) 0.2%.

Cambodia's Renewable Energy Electricity Generation in 2017 (%)

  • Hydro (2,711 GWh)
  • Biomass (59.4 GWh)
  • Solar (4.6 GWh)

Source: Electricity Authority Cambodia (EAC): Yearly Report on Power Sector (2018)

The development of renewable energy in Cambodia is limited to the investment from utility and establishment of demonstration project. The financial incentives for RE are not yet in place. However, development of renewable energy projects can be classified into either general investment in physical infrastructure or energy investment. Some incentives can be obtained in this sector, according to Investment Law (1994). These include, but are not limited to tax holiday, tax exemption, and import duty exemption.

Currently, the financial resources for development of renewable energy are mainly from foreign countries. These are in the form of donation or grant. However, a subsidy of US$100 per system is being provided by the Government of Cambodia in order to reduce investment capital for the purchase and installation of the renewable energy systems. In 2014, EDC has provided the fund of US$6 million for the operation of Renewable Energy Fund and implementation of three rural electrification development programme consisting of Power to the Poor, Solar Home System, and Assistance to Develop Electricity Infrastructure in rural areas.  Access to financial source is considered as one of the main barriers for implementation of renewable energy in Cambodia.