ERC hikes feed-in tariff to promote solar scheme

ERC hikes feed-in tariff to promote solar scheme

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has announced the purchase of electricity generated by rooftop solar panels at higher prices in a move to encourage households to use more clean energy, says ERC secretary-general Khomgrich Tantravanich.

A feed-in tariff in the fourth phase of the rooftop solar power scheme was increased to 2.2 baht per kilowatt hour, up from 1.68 baht per kilowatt hour, to attract more participants.

House owners can join the scheme by submitting applications to two state electricity distribution arms -- the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA), which oversees Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan, and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA).

Eligible participants will be granted a 10-year power trade contract.

The ERC was instructed by the National Energy Policy Council to carry on the rooftop solar power scheme with electricity generation capacity of 10MW each year until 2030.

Authorities want to encourage households to have their own power generation system and sell any surplus of electricity generated by rooftop solar panels to the state grid as a way to earn income.

The fourth phase of the rooftop solar power scheme started in 2019, with the original aim of having households generate up to 100MW. Authorities also set the same target of an additional 100MW in 2020.

However, according to the ERC, only 629 participants have so far joined the scheme under the MEA, with electricity generation capacity of 3,567KW. Some 953 participants have joined the scheme overseen by the PEA, with power generation capacity of 4,724KW.

Low participation caused the government to reduce the target to 10MW and offer an attractive feed-in tariff to entice more households.

Under the national Alternative Energy Development Plan, set to be implemented next year, total power generation capacity from all solar energy facilities, including floating solar panels, is set at 4,900MW by 2030.

The installed solar power generation capacity in Thailand stood at 3,049MW last year, up from 1,420MW in 2015, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency.

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