Solar rooftop revisions soon

Solar rooftop revisions soon

Low household participation at fault

A solar farm in Samut Sakhon. Policymakers will change the details of the solar power scheme to reach the capacity goal of 10,000MW. Somchai Poomlard
A solar farm in Samut Sakhon. Policymakers will change the details of the solar power scheme to reach the capacity goal of 10,000MW. Somchai Poomlard

The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency plans to ask the Energy Ministry to launch a revised solar scheme for the public after witnessing lower participation than expected in the household solar rooftop programme.

Following the launch of the national power development plan (PDP) for 2018-37, the objective was to focus on new solar power generation of 10,000 megawatts -- all from the solar rooftop type invested in by homeowners.

Under the PDP, there is no allowance for solar farms.

The solar rooftop programme is designed to grant licences at 100MW per year during 2019-27 for households and increase the solar power generation to 1,000MW per year from 2028 on, until end up at 10,000MW by 2037.

In late May, the programme was launched for 100MW pilot applications, but as of July 2, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) reported that the enrolment from households has received 8.74MW only.

Yongyut Jantararotai, the department's director-general, said the policymakers expected earlier that the household solar rooftop programme would receive a good response from property owners.

The details of the existing programme will be altered from relying on the rooftop type alone, to both solar types instead, Mr Yongyut said.

"The model of licences granted by the ERC will be changed as well," he said.

The department will propose a new model of solar programme at 10,000MW to the new minister in order to achieve the power generation goal for renewable energy under the PDP.

Mr Yongyut said low participation in the programme is a result of the purchasing rate of 1.68 baht per kilowatt-hour, which is too cheap to be worth for an investment from households and property owners.

Each solar rooftop property requires a budget of roughly 200,000-300,000 baht for generation below 10 kilowatts.

Mr Yongyut said the department will run public hearings for changes to the scheme in August.

"Power investors and companies, operating the solar installation should coordinate the public hearings to promote this scheme because many households have limited experience with handling power purchasing deals with the state grids," he said.

Wattanapong Kurovat, director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, said waste-to-energy power projects under the PDP will open a new auction round of licence granting at the combined power generation of 400MW.

The bidding period is expected to run from the second half of 2019 until early 2020 and all projects are scheduled for operations by 2022.

Mr Wattanapong said the new round of biomass power projects will also start in the second half as well. Policymakers' plans for power generation of 124MW for biomass and the operation will start in 2021-22.

Power generation from renewable energy is to account for 33% of the country's total capacity by 2037, up from 10% in 2017.

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