Agreement signed to establish International Solar Alliance’s STAR Centre in Bhutan

The International Solar Alliance will be providing a grant of about USD 200,000 to 300,000 to Bhutan to advance the country’s solar technology. The fund will be used to establish a Solar Technology Application Resource Centre or STAR C at the College of Science and Technology in Phuentshogling. It is expected to become a hub for solar technology research, development, and application in Bhutan. This marks a milestone for the country since joining the International Solar Alliance in October 2022.

After obtaining membership in the ISA, Bhutan was identified as one of the three focus countries to establish the Solar Technology Application Resource Centre as a regional-level initiative under the International Solar Alliance and the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation.

The centre aims to harness the abundance of sunlight in the region to drive innovation in renewable energy solutions.

It will serve as an important resource centre for both academic study and practical implementation.

“This is a laboratory where you will be testing the solar applications technology as well and there will be a training component. So, what it means is that the STAR C will be able to test the products that we will be importing to the country for solar energy, and it will also be a standard that we can use to see whether the solar products that we import are up to certain standards or not. And the lab will also provide training to the technicians who will go and install the equipment in the field, on the ground,” said Karma Tshering, National Focal Point of International Solar Alliance.

As a part of the collaboration, the Country Partnership Agreement for a duration of two years from April 2024 to December 2026 was signed between the ISA and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources for identification and implementation of the programmes and projects under the ISA’s support. For the establishment of the STAR Centre, a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between the ISA, and the Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources and the Royal University of Bhutan.

The agreement includes broad proposals to enhance the deployment of solar technologies and applications in the country.

“This is a very important day in the history of the ISA because we have seen Bhutan as a great partner, partly, because in the winter months, Bhutan becomes a net importer of electricity instead of a net exporter of electricity. Consequently, we need to work with you, so that all the available electricity can be exported and as much as needed electricity within the country could be made by solar at comparable prices,” said Ajay Mathur (PhD), Director General of International Solar Alliance.

The College of Science and Technology says the establishment of STAR C will be a significant opportunity to enhance its capabilities.

“For a college that delivers engineering and technological programmes, what we are expecting from this STAR-C introduction is to train expertise who deals with hydropower, as well as solar power energy and renewable energy. What we are expecting out of this STAR-C is, in the long run, as a college when we embark on establishing the renewable energy related to the course, our students and faculty will be much more educated on renewable energy,” said Cheki Dorji (PhD), President of College of Science and Technology.

Under the ISA’s support, another USD 50,000 will be provided to Bhutan to install two solar-powered cold storages of five-metric-tonnes capacity in Paro and Zhemgang on a pilot basis.

Globally, the ISA’s mission is to mobilise one trillion US dollars of investments in solar by 2030 through joint efforts towards the objective of enhancing energy access, ensuring energy security, and facilitating the energy transition to solar as the preferred energy source in member countries for a carbon-neutral future.

Samten Dolkar

Edited by Kipchu

Top Stories

Related Stories


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Recent Comments