Thai Regulator gears up for solar rooftop electricity

Construction News

The power regulator will revise the method for selling building-based and factory-based solar rooftop electricity.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), a group of alternative energy operators and the Federation of Thai Industries, organised a seminar to create awareness, interest and understanding of rooftop photovoltaic power stations. It attracted over 200 solar cell installers, suppliers and representatives of various buildings and factories.

Kawin Thangsupanich, secretary-general of the ERC, expects strong interest in rooftop solar stations due to the incentives offered by the state, such as the power purchase rate based on actual production cost, known as the feed-in tariff (FiT), for three categories.

The FiT for homes has been set at Bt6.96 per unit, for small commercial buildings at Bt6.55 and for medium-to-large commercial buildings at Bt6.16, as of the scheduled commercial operation date (SCOD).

Applications will open at 9am on September 23 and close on October 11.

To ensure fairness and transparency, applications can be submitted only at the head offices of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) instead of the 18 district offices of the PEA and Egat as originally planned, as about 100-400 applicants are likely to take part in the 100-megawatt rooftop solar cell panel project.

Application processing

Applicants showing up before 9am on September 23 will be processed via draws to determine the order for submitting applications. Each applicant can submit only one application instead of 10 as stated earlier. Processing of the applications will depend on the order in which they are received and the completeness of required documents.

Applicants must resubmit incomplete documents before October 11. Egat and PEA will publish the list of selected applicants starting on October 14.

As the timeframe for this rooftop solar project is not long, the SCOD might be extended by 30 days. If there are unavoidable problems that may impede many solar farm installations, the ERC will propose to the Energy Ministry and the Cabinet to allow the project’s deadline to be extended to December 31 if necessary.

The average electricity production cost was calculated by the ERC at about Bt60,000 for each kilowatt rooftop solar cell panel installed, which can generate 1,300 units of electricity a year. The average annual revenue is about Bt8,000-Bt9,000. Operators can look forward to recouping their investment in six to seven years.

The investment is quite high compared to revenue, but from a perspective of 25 years, which is the project’s electricity sale contract period, the project will prove to be worthwhile pricewise and will contribute to Thailand’s electricity stability, as the current electricity rate collected is Bt3.75 per unit.


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