Solar rooftops, electric vehicles okayed

Solar rooftops, electric vehicles okayed

The government has approved a plan to allow houses and factories to generate a combined 100 megawatts of power from solar rooftops.

The go-ahead will help reduce the government’s burden in electricity generation, while houses and factories will be able to save on their electricity bills, said Energy Minister Anantaporn Kanjanarat after yesterday's meeting of the National Energy Policy Committee chaired by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Each house would be allowed to generate electricity of up to 10 kilowatts, while a factory could produce up to 40kW.

The government will issue criteria in March and organise a public hearing in April. The project is expected to commence in June or July, with power generation to start in December or early next year.

The private sector previously had no right to develop any power-generating business.

In a related development, the committee yesterday approved a plan to promote the use of electric vehicles.

For an initial step, from 2016-17 the government will regulate the cost of electric vehicles based on the principle that the cost should not exceed that of natural-gas vehicles.

The government plans to have 200 electric buses run by the Bangkok Mass Transit Authority of Thailand and one electric bus run by the Provincial Electricity Authority to offer service from Suvarnabhumi airport to Pattaya.

For a second step, taking place from 2018-19, the electric vehicle project will expand to passenger cars for which the government must prepare charging stations, battery manufacturing, standards, a tax rate and measures to attract the use of electric cars.

The third and final stage, to run from 2020-36, sees the government planning for 1.2 million electric vehicles running on the streets with 690-800 charging stations.

Gen Anantaporn said Gen Prayut also ordered related ministries to promote the use of electric vehicles among the public as soon as possible in order to reduce their dependence on oil.

The Energy Ministry reported yesterday that continued low oil prices triggered a rise in domestic fuel usage in 2015, with petrol use up 4.3%, gasohol up 13.2% and jet oil up 9.4%.

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