Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission introduces 100MW household solar scheme

Construction News

Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission introduces 100MW household solar scheme

14 March 2019

Energy policymakers are ready to allow new solar power projects for households, with a plan to buy an initial capacity of 100 megawatts, offering a feed-in tariff of 1.68 baht per kilowatthour (unit) for 10-year contracts.

Yesterday Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan met with 50 importers, assemblers and distributors of solar panels to brief them about the new scheme.

A public hearing for the scheme is scheduled from March 18 to April 1 and two state-run agencies, the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, will buy surplus output of 70MW and 30MW, respectively.

Khomgrich Tantravanich, deputy secretary-general of the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), said it will announce the scheme’s details on March 20.

“Under the plan, May to July will be the registration period for households wanting to participate. The ERC will announce the shortlist by August,” he said.

“Contracts should be signed in October, and each household has to distribute power to the grid by 2019.”

Eligible households have to install solar panels with at least a 10 kilowatt-peak per electric meter, said Mr Khomgrich.

The solar power project for households is in line with the new version of national power development plan (PDP) 2018-37. Under the PDP, solar power is projected to total 12,725MW by 2037.

Of the total capacity, 2,725MW will be developed by state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat) as floating hydro-solar hybrid projects at its dams by 2037.

Egat is preparing human resources and related infrastructure to invest in solar power at all nine dams: Sirindhorn (Ubon Ratchathani), Ubol Ratana (Khon Kaen), Bhumibol (Tak), Srinakarin (Kanchanaburi), Vajiralongkorn (Kanchanaburi), Chulabhorn (Chaiyaphum), Bang Lang (Pattani), Ratchaprapha (Surat Thani) and Sirikit (Uttaradit).

Egat claims the project will be the world’s largest hybrid power scheme from hydro and solar.

The remaining capacity of 10,000MW includes the 100MW residential pilot project for households, allowing them to sell their surplus output to the state grid.

In the past, only energy companies were allowed to generate solar power and sell electricity to the grid.

Mr Siri said all companies related to solar power must be ready for competition.

“The installation cost of solar panels has dropped from 1 million baht per MW to 600,000 baht now,” he said. “This scheme will support solar power becoming a major resource in the future.”

As of 2018, Thailand has solar capacity of 3,449MW from farms and rooftops.