Natural Energy Development Company Limited (NED) is pleased to announce that Loburi Solar, a 73MW (DC) / 55MW (AC) solar farm, has successfully commenced commercial operation. Currently the world`s largest operating thin-film silicon solar energy project, the plant is the first solar energy project to have achieved Commercial Operation Date (COD) under the Small Power Producer scheme to supply electricity to Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) on December 22, 2011.
Mr. Sahust Pratuknukul, Chairman of NED and President of Electricity Generating Public Company Limited or EGCO Group revealed that the Lopburi Solar is Thailand`s pride as it`s ranked among the top solar energy projects in the world. The project is also expected to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by over 1.3 million tons annually over its 25-year project life as well as to cut the imported fuel by over 35,000 tons a year.
In addition, NED has successfully registered its Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) with the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change (“(UNFCCC)”), the international platform to reduce the effects of climate change globally.
Underlying its significance, the project has been chosen by the Office of the Permanent Secretary the Prime Minister`s Office to be one of the celebration events for the auspicious occasion to commemorate His Majesty the King`s 84th Birthday anniversary.
“EGCO Group is proud to be a part of a prototype of the world clean energy project. Our continued investment in renewable energy is one of the key strategies in driving the business of EGCO Group, and maintaining our leadership and vision of Energy for Life, as well as supporting the government`s policy for renewable energy development and tackling the issue of global warming and greenhouse gas emissions.” Mr. Sahust said
Mr. Woramol Khamkanist, Managing Director of NED added that “Construction of the plant started in July 2010, which has been unaffected by the recent floods. During the 18-month construction period, over 1,400 people were hired with more than 4 million man-hours spent, without any injuries. About 1,778 km of underground cable was connected and approximately 520,000 thin-film solar panels were installed.”
“An expansion of the project is underway. When completed in June 2012, the Lopburi Solar power plant will generate 84MW (DC) / 63 MW (AC). To raise the awareness of natural energy sources and promote sustainable use of energy in Thailand, NED has also taken the initiative of constructing a 760-square-meter renewable energy museum. The facility will be open for public access free of charge in mid-2012.” Mr. Woramol said
Loburi Solar is located in Wang Plueng, Khok Samrong District, Lopburi. The project is owned by Natural Energy Development Co., Ltd. (“NED”), which in turn is equally owned by CLP Thailand Renewable Limited of the CLP Group, the leader in electrical power generation in the Asia-Pacific, Electricity Generating Public Company Limited or EGCO Group, the Thailand`s first Independent Power Producer and Diamond Generating Asia Limited of the Mitsubishi Corporation, the Japan`s largest producer of electric power plant equipment
The consortium of SHARP, Ital Thai Development and Ital Thai Engineering was contracted to provide engineering, procurement and construction services within an 18-month long construction schedule.
Over THB5 billion of project debt was funded by Asia Development Bank, Bangkok Bank, Siam Commercial Bank and Kasikorn Bank under a non-recourse project financing facility. The financing package has been recognized by project finance and Alpha magazine as project finance of the year.
The first electron generated by the solar plant was supplied to EGAT on 22 December 2011 through a 15km transmission line to Provincial Electricity Authority of Thailand`s 115KV substation. The project is expected to produce about 105 GWh of clean energy a year for the people of Thailand.