The energy giant PTT Plc has made a major move into the solar power sector by joining with the Maleenont family, the operator of Channel 3, on an investment of 1.45 billion baht.
PTT previously acquired 40% of Thai Solar Renewable Co (TSR), with 60% held by Thai Solar Energy Co, which was founded by the Maleenonts.
The joint venture has planned 10 solar-farm projects with a combined capacity of 80 megawatts in Kanchanaburi and Suphan Buri.
"Previously only PTT affiliate Bangchak Petroleum Plc has seriously moved on solar energy," said Nattachart Charuchinda, the chief operating officer of PTT's downstream petroleum business.
"We've been investing for some time in the solar business, but limited opportunities were available due to a lack of new licences, so we decided to invest in a company that already has a licence."
A PTT statement said TSR has another nine licences for the next phase of solar project development over several years.
PTT signed a memorandum of understanding on Friday with Dhanarak Asset Development Co, a subsidiary of the Treasury Department, to conduct a joint feasibility study of the 2.3-MW solar rooftop project.
Covering 26,000 square metres of the government complex on Chaeng Watthana Road, the study will take six months to complete.
Once operable, the project will supply electricity to the Metropolitan Electricity Authority. It will be carried out by Combined Heat and Power Producing Co, the wholly owned subsidiary of PTT's gas business unit.
Executives said this year will see PTT focus more on renewable energy.
Last month the board approved a plan for PTT International Holding Co (PTTIH) to invest in the Nam Lik 1 hydropower plant in Laos. PTTIH will hold a 40% stake in the project together with partners Posco Engineering and Construction Co and Hydro Engineering Co.
The plant is valued at US$124 million.
Nam Lik 1 Power Co Ltd is expected to obtain a 30-year concession from the Laotian government, with total installed capacity of 64.7 MW. Commercial operations are set to begin by August 2016.
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Writer: Yuthana Praiwan & Nareerat Wiriyapong