The feed-in tariff for solar rooftop modules will likely be kept in place next year on the assumption that equipment costs will not fall sharply, says Energy Minister Pongsak Raktapongpaisal.
At present, the feed-in tariff for solar rooftops is 6.96 baht per kilowatt-hour for a project with a capacity of 1-10 kW, 6.55 baht for 10-250 kW and 6.19 baht for 250-1,000 kW, valid for 25 years.
The Energy Ministry will accept private-sector proposals for solar rooftop licences from Sept 23-Oct 11 for projects nationwide with a combined capacity of 200 megawatts.
"We expect to maintain the tariff because the price of a solar module and installation cost are expected to stay on par with this year," said Mr Pongsak.
The government recently increased the amount of solar power to be bought from private operators to 3,000 MW by 2020, a 50% increase from the initial plan.
At present, solar farms with a collective capacity of 500 MW are in operation.
Half of total solar rooftop capacity will be bought from the residential sector and the rest from factories and commercial buildings.
Mr Pongsak said the ministry will talk to relevant authorities about possibly waiving factory operating permits granted by the Industrial Works Department.
The private sector says the time-consuming permit process will make it hard to get solar rooftops up and running by next Jan 31 as required.
Power plants with a capacity of more than 3.85 kW are required to obtain an operating licence, but policymakers are negotiating a waiver for solar projects.
The Federation of Thai Industries expects solar rooftops to receive a warm welcome from property and factory owners due to higher return on investment and lower costs compared with other energy types.
Mr Pongsak said the ministry wants at least 20,000 houses nationwide generating power under the solar rooftop scheme.
He said solar module costs will decrease next year due to an oversupply from China, whose producers face trade barriers in the European market.
The minister said several commercial banks are preparing to offer leasing for solar rooftops, potentially widening the opportunity for middle-income households to use green energy.
The standard size of 27 square metres, generating 2.8 kW, costs 290,000 baht.
About the author
- Writer: Yuthana Praiwan
Position: Business Reporter