Thailand boosts solar target by 50%

Thailand boosts solar target by 50%

Thailand will build 3,000 megawatts of solar power capacity by 2021, 50% more than previously announced, after approving new subsidised rates for rooftop and village-based projects.

The government will work with the Village Fund, a state-run microcredit provider, to develop 800 megawatts of community-owned photovoltaic plants by the end of 2014, the Ministry of Energy said in a July 16 statement.

In addition, 200 megawatts of rooftop installations built by the end of the year will be eligible for the special rates, it said. Half must be built on residential homes.

Thailand follows Europe and Japan in offering feed-in tariffs, or fixed rates above the wholesale price of power, to attract investment into renewable energy. The country, which relies on fossil fuels for 80% of its energy consumption, seeks to build 13,927 megawatts of clean-energy capacity by 2021.

The ministry announced tariffs as high as 6,960 baht (US$225) per megawatt-hour for the smallest rooftop projects. That is about 57% above the global average for crystalline photovoltaic projects, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

The projects will sell their power to the government under 25-year contracts. Village-owned projects will get paid as much as 9,750 baht per megawatt hour at the beginning before the tariff levels off to 4,500 baht per megawatt hour by the end of the agreement.

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