Energy Regulatory Commission eyes B40bn from solar power projects

Energy Regulatory Commission eyes B40bn from solar power projects

Household rooftop PV scheme to begin

Workers install solar rooftop panels at a house in Bangkok. (Photo by Weeraboon Wisartsakul)
Workers install solar rooftop panels at a house in Bangkok. (Photo by Weeraboon Wisartsakul)

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) expects to create new investment value of 40 billion baht from its new 10,000-megawatt solar power projects for households from 2019-2028.

The country's power regulator on Wednesday launched the solar photovoltaic (PV) scheme for local household rooftops with a pilot capacity of 100MW.

The state grid plans to buy the electricity from solar rooftops, offering a feed-in tariff of 1.68 baht per kilowatt-hour (unit) for 10-year contracts.

Two state-run agencies, the Provincial Electricity Authority and the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, will buy output of 70MW and 30MW, respectively.

Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said households intending to participate in the scheme can register with the ERC in May.

"The ERC expects to grant the solar rooftop licences in June," said Mr Siri.

Naruphat Amornkosit, secretary- general of the ERC, said eligible participants will be selected a first come, first served basis.

Households have to install solar panels with at least a 10 kilowatt-peak per electric meter.

The solar PV project for households is in line with the new version of the 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 as floating hydro-solar hybrid projects at its nine dams by 2037.

With the 10,000MW solar PV scheme for households, energy policymakers will grant power-generating licences of 100MW per year until 2023.

The annual capacity will rise from 2024-2028 until completion of the planned capacity, said the ERC.

"Under the PDP, policymakers expect to increase the solar power generation to account for 50% of overall renewable power by 2037," said Ms Naruphat.

The solar rooftop scheme is the second round for local investors after the first round opened in September 2013 with a total capacity of 200MW, all of which has commenced commercial operation.

Most of the solar rooftops in Thailand have been installed by companies and generate electricity for each customer, but they are not allowed to sell surplus output to the state grid.

She said the ERC is also determining business and investment conditions to provide licences for waste-to-energy power generation under the PDP, expecting a total power capacity of 400MW in the future.

The waste-to-energy power projects are expected to launch next month, but the ERC has yet to set a pilot power capacity for this renewable resource.

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