Korea Electric Power Corp. plans to build solar on highways in two 20MW stages, followed by a third phase, under a government program to facilitate the development of energy-independent roads.

Korea Hydro and Nuclear Power Co. (KHNP), a unit of Korea Electric Power Corp. (Kepco), has signed a memorandum of understanding with Hanmaeum Energy, a Singapore-based private equity firm owned by Affirma Capital and Duham Partners to deploy 100MW of solar capacity on idle areas close to highways in South Korea.

The project will be part of a South Korean Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport (MOLIT) program that facilitates the development of energy-independent roads. It will be developed in three phases, starting with two 20MW phases. The entire project will be able to generate 130,000MWh per year upon completion.

“KHNP will continue to actively promote renewable energy power generation facilities where environmental damage is minimal and social costs are not incurred,” said KHNP President Jeong Jae-hoon.

A PV project on the side of a highway in South Korea

Image: Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport

The MOLIT currently operates around 319 solar arrays totaling 149 MW at several idle sites managed by Korea Expressway Corp. (KEC), which runs the toll roads of South Korea. It has decided to give privates companies the opportunity to lease other idle sites to deploy their projects.

The surface will have to be leased for a 20-year period and developers will have to pay an unspecified usage fee. The KEC will offer surfaces on the slopes of the embankment of highways, the green areas around junctions, the rooftops of buildings, and parking lots.

The South Korean government aims to deploy around 30MW of solar in 2021 and 243MW by 2025. It also wants to build 50MW of hydrogen fuel cell facilities. In late March, the MOLIT announced a separate plan to build solar using railway infrastructure.