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Renewable energy in Thailand

Thailand has committed to increasing its use of renewable energy.

Business that use Green technology have a business advantage over their competitors.

Advantages include being less reliant on the grid, cost savings, Business Image and Many more.

Bangkok--27 Sep--EXIM BANK

Mrs. Warangkana Wongkhaluang, Senior Executive Vice President of Export-Import Bank of Thailand (EXIM Thailand), and Mr. Khemmarat Sartpreecha, Acting Managing Director of PEA ENCOM International Co., Ltd. (PEA ENCOM), a wholly owned subsidiary of the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), signed a financial facility agreement at EXIM Thailand's Head Office on September 26, 2018 to provide a credit facility worth 1,150 million baht to finance the state enterprise's investment in installation of 40 MW solar rooftop systems for industrial plants nationwide.

This financial support to PEA ENCOM aims to promote electricity generation from solar panels, which is a clean, sustainable and environmentally friendly renewable energy source with high potential. It will not only contribute to the country's energy conservation and environmental protection, but also reduce consumption of fossil fuel-based electricity and save entrepreneurs' production costs, which is in line with EXIM Thailand's mission and the government policy of national development on a sustainable basis.

For further information, please contact Corporate Communication Division, Secretary and Corporate Communication Department
Tel. 0 2271 3700, 0 2278 0047, 0 2617 2111 ext. 1141, 1144
This post has been published by: solarenergy.einnews
 

Thailand's energy reform plan is ready for implementation, with an emphasis on deregulating the electricity sector and enhancing competitiveness among private operators.

The new version aims for open and free private participation in the energy sector and deregulation of all aspects over the next two decades, as the country's policymakers tackle the unavoidable impact of disruptive technology. 

Thailand did an initial reform in the 1990s by deregulating oil and electricity, including a privatisation programme for the state's energy enterprises.

The second reform was to beef up penetration of renewable energy in the 2010s. 

The new version is the third stage, which was under draft from 2015 until the end of last year by the National Reform Steering Assembly.

The energy reform plan has been crafted alongside those of other sectors, including environment, human resources, national competitiveness, administration of state agency, national defence and social equality.

The energy sector is part of the national competitiveness plan.

Nantika Thangsuphanich, deputy permanent secretary of energy, said the plan is crucially needed because several activities in the sector have suffered from delays in petroleum exploration and production activities and the development of new power plants.

"These problems risk the national security of energy supply, the domestic economy and quality of life," Ms Nantika said. "The ministry initiated the plan recently by setting up a main committee and six subcommittees to carry out the reform plan."

Pornchai Rujiprapa, chairman of the National Energy Reform Committee, said the pilot for the new reform version will start during the remainder of this year, including one-stop service to grant licences for gas operators and power plants.

Many dozens of licence types are granted by several state agencies.

"The plan will encourage third parties to access a liquefied natural gas (LNG) business, shifting from two operators: PTT Plc, the national oil and gas conglomerate, and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand [Egat]," Mr Pornchai said.

Furthermore, the prosumer concept, also known as peer-to-peer power trading, will be deregulated in a bid to support electricity generation by communities and private power purchase agreements.

Under the plan, a new building energy code will be enforced so that every large building must comply with energy saving and higher efficient energy consumption practices to receive licences.

The policymakers plan to shift from cooking gas in the transport sector to compressed natural gas for widespread consumption.

"The energy sector represents 20% of the country's economic value," Mr Pornchai said. "If any aspects are suffering, we carry out reforms in order to maintain economic drive."

Lertrat Ratanavanich, deputy chairman of the National Energy Reform Committee, said the reform plan in the long run consists of the fourth phase of massive petrochemical investment in the Eastern Economic Corridor scheme, renewable energy promotion, electrical vehicles and encouragement of energy storage systems.

"For renewables, solar rooftops and waste-to-energy power plants are set for further deregulation under the reform plan," Gen Lertrat said. "Moreover, integration of state power utilities into a single structure that will subsume Egat, the Metropolitan Electricity Authority and the Provincial Electricity Authority is being planned."

Gen Lertrat said many megaprojects have been scrapped or delayed because of continued protests from non-governmental groups and local communities, including biomass and waste-to-energy projects.

Manoon Siriwan, an energy expert, said energy literacy campaigns should be carried out to educate people and companies on the importance of energy security and renewable power.

This post has been published by: Bangkok Post


Energy policymakers gave the green light to start buying solar power generated from private buildings and households once again after postponing the programme for more than four years.
 
Private buildings and households that are accepted by the programme will sell surplus solar power to the state's utilities.
 
Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency is carrying out studies to outline the investment conditions, which are expected to be concluded this year.
He said there is no solid time frame yet because details such as business model, investment budget, power tariff, net metering system, supporting region and capacity from each building are still under development.
 
The tightened condition is the power tariff to sell back should be up to 2.44 baht per kilowatt-hour.
Mr Siri said policymakers are confident that the cost to develop rooftop solar photovoltaic panels has declined.
 
The programme will allow for households to sell power either under a business-to-business model or to sell surplus electricity wholesale to the state.
 
"We are working to support households to participate in the power generation from their own rooftops and to receive revenue from selling the surplus electricity,"
Mr Siri said. 
This programme is aimed at achieving policymakers' goal to have all types of renewable energy make up 30% of the country's total power generation by 2036 from 10% at present.
 
The policymaker expects to see a decline in heavy dependence on fossil-based power in the long run. Fossil fuels make up 85% of national power.
Mr Siri said the programme may be accelerated to increase the proportion of renewable energy and meet the target sooner than projected.
Biomass and biogas are becoming mainstream energy sources, with combined capacity of more than 3,000 megawatts.
The rooftop programme was launched for the first time in 2013 with a total quota of 200MW.

Bangkok, Nonthaburi and Samut Prakan were allocated 80MW of the total, equally distributed between private buildings and households.

At the time, the power tariff was set at 6.10-6.96 baht per kilowatt-hour, higher than for the upcoming programme.
Since then, the programme has faced political conflicts and has not been promoted, leaving huge solar power projects of 2,000MW pending during 2014-16.
Somruedee Chaimongkol, director of Banpu Infinergy Co, a solar energy provider, said the company welcomes the programme and is ready to comply once the investment conditions have been made clearer.
She said the company is confident the current power tariff is competitive and fair, relative to its business partnerships with smart energy service providers.

The company provides a combined capacity of 12MW and has another 100MW in its backlog.
Banpu Infinergy is also set to achieve 300MW of capacity from solar energy to serve future demand in accordance with the Energy Ministry's Alternative Energy Development Plan

Solar rooftop owners operate as independent power suppliers (IPSs). The Energy Regulatory Commission reported that registered IPSs have a combined capacity of 2,600MW and more new IPSs are being launched each month with an average capacity of 4-5MW.

IPS capacity accounts for 6.5% of the total power generation system.
 
This post has been published by: Bangkok Post
 
 
Energy policymakers announced new renewable power generators will have the same feed-in tariff as fossil-fuel power generators, 2.40 baht per kilowatt-hour, because their production cost is equal to or lower than their traditional peers. The new rate is effective for new power plants immediately.
 
Energy Minister Siri Jirapongphan said this move is aimed at making public power bills more affordable as the new rate is significantly below the adder rate (the rate state utilities pay operators) renewable power generators pay of 5-8 baht.
 
Mr Siri said the price renewable energy generators sell to state utilities should be equal or less than the price from the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand.
Last month, policymakers decided to quit granting licences to investors using renewable resources for the next five years. The policy had caused some investors, particularly listed companies on the stock market, to diversify into renewable energy generation.
 
"A new condition will be added that not only will the feed-in tariff be lowered but also firms' power purchase agreements must be the corporate type or a stable resource of feed stock is available to operate the power plants," he said.
Policymakers expect the subsidy scheme for renewables will be suspended until 2022.
 
Mr Siri said this new policy would not affect some investors because some resources still have lower production cost, such as biomass and solar power, and can compete with fossil-fuel generated power.
The National Energy Policy Council (NEPC) updated the country's renewable power portfolio as of February, with total power for both operation and development totalling 9,855 megawatts, or 64.5% of policymakers' long-term goal of 16,780MW by 2036.
The NEPC said there are only 6,350MW left over that the policymakers can promote for new investment in the remaining years.
 
Categorised by type of renewable feed stock, biomass power plants control the largest capacity at 4,045MW, while solar power totals 3,285MW and wind farms 1,522MW
Other renewables include biogas at 503MW and community and industrial waste-to-energy (361MW and 38MW, respectively).
Licences remain over the next decade for 2,715MW of solar power, 1,500MW of wind power, 944MW of biomass, 780MW of biogas, and 139MW and 12MW of community and industrial waste-to-energy, respectively.
 
This post has been published by: Bangkok Post
 
 
 

Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced to release on March 31, 2018, a new national Power Development Plan (PDP), which will replace the 2014 version. The new PDP will furnish details of the deregulation programme.

 

COMING MARCH 31, 2018: Thailand’s new solar rooftop deregulation, legislation and industry practice

Currently, 95% of Thailand’s solar energy is produced in ground-based solar farms. Under the new legislation which will be introduced very soon, the small rooftop quota will increase rapidly. Solar rooftop developments installations on commercial, industrial, governments, public institutions (e.g., schools and hospitals), residential, and any other type of buildings are going mainstream with the introduction of non-utility offtake deals and the opening of the energy market to sell rooftop electricity on demand into the grid. 

Thai companies in the manufacturing sector can utilize rooftop solar not only to improve their environmental profiles but also to lower their operating costs. This offers attractive opportunities, among others, for foreign investors in Thailand’s solar energy industry.

Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced to release on March 31, 2018, a new national Power Development Plan (PDP), which will replace the 2014 version. The new PDP will furnish details of the deregulation programme, although Egat will remain the nation’s power generation backbone.

A member of the National Energy Reform Committee is quoted in a Bangkok Post report on 18/01/18 with the words: “Power consumers in Thailand now pay monthly bills for their electricity, but in future, they could generate their own electricity through solar rooftops and sell the surplus power to other users. The coming years will see the rise of prosumers. Prosumers may generate power for their local communities and even sell the surplus outside of that community. ”

Limitations of off-grid solar photovoltaic rooftop facilities 

Solar panels installed on the own rooftop for self-consumption “behind-the-meter” are already widely popular in Bangkok as well as the various production plants in the Eastern Seaboard. The owners of factories, buildings, and residences have installed solar rooftops to produce their own electric power and cut back on expenses. Reductions in technology prices and innovative financing structures help to make government subsidy programmes unneeded and obsolete and made photovoltaics competitive with fossil fuels energy sources. 

However, solar facilities for self-consumption which are not connected to the grid will remain to have a niche character. The missing possibility to utilize a surplus of excessive energy limit the flexibility and profitability of solar rooftop installments. The current legislation bans owners of for detached houseswarehouses, factories, and offices to sell their leftover capacity to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT). 

Under a regulation of the Energy Regulation Commission as of 2013, solar rooftop energy of up to 10 MW can be sold to the governmental utilities PEA and MEA. The regulation defines the criteria, procedures, and conditions of a power purchase.

The rooftop is defined as a roof, deck, or any part of the building. “Building” means a building according to the Building Act in which persons can reside or utilize. The definition does not include wall, fence, banner or banner’s structure, parking area, U-turn area, access way for vehicle, or likewise structure.

Rent a rooftop: Deregulation allows grid-connected photovoltaic rooftop facilities

Latest governmental announcements predict a sunny future: In the next months, it will be allowed to sell electricity, generated by privately owned solar rooftops, to state utilities. This will open the sun gate to substantial investments in solar rooftop developments. However, this will not be more than the first step in an open energy market. 

On an international level, energy consuming businesses are taking advantage of third-party ownership options. Under solar leases or private power purchase agreements, electricity customers gain financial benefits without a substantial investment or pre-payment. However, the devil is in the detail and the commercial agreements for the solar rooftop venture have to be adjusted to the specific legislation in Thailand which is not yet disclosed. The alternative is to purchase or lease a solar system by the rooftop owner to produce electricity on his own. 

 

More about the new legislation: 

Seven Questions: Thailand’s new solar rooftop legislation

Main structural questions of the new legislation cover three topics:

  • Regulatory and commercial terms for a power purchase agreement with EGAT (firm PPA, etc.)
  • Possibility to enter into a commercial or industrial power purchase agreement (C&I PPA) to sell electricity to a private party
  • Electricity production license requirements and a possible total capacity limit.

Various other legal and commercial issues have to be taken into consideration under the new regulatory framework. Maybe most important will be the scope of flexibility to reflect changes in the business environment during the lifecycle of the project. 

Professional services in the emerging solar rooftop industry 

PUGNATORIUS Ltd. is a Bangkok-based specialist provider of bespoke transactional legal and tax advice in the corporate and property legal and taxation industry sectors. With respect to Thailand’s sustainable energy industry, the law firm is specialized to guide foreign developers and investors through the red-tape requirements, legal hurdles, and industry practice of solar power projects in Thailand.

The professional services include:

  • Preparation of a legal specification sheet for developers to invest in Thai solar panels on rooftops of private or governmental buildings.
  • Design and drafting of the comprehensive contractual arrangements for the solar rooftop development venture
  • Drafting and negotiation of reservation agreements with rooftop owners for a cooperation with foreign developers and investors.
  • Drafting and negotiation of C&I PPA’s under the new legislative regime
  • Design of a tailor-made foreign investment structure in compliance with the new solar rooftop energy legislation in 2018.
  • Support in the comprehensive application process for investment promotion by the BOI Board of Investment

Ask the law firm for a consultancy and support offer to participate in Thailand’s second solar gold rush. Get solar lessons you do not want to learn the hard way.

This post has been published: Pugnatorius Ltd.

 
 

Solar panel makers hit by shortage of key material

NEW YORK: Solar manufacturers are being battered by higher costs and smaller margins after an unexpected shortage of a critical raw material.

Prices of polysilicon, the main component of photovoltaic cells, spiked as much as 35% in the past four months after environmental regulators in China shut down several factories.

That is driving up production costs as panel prices continue to decline, and dragging down earnings for manufacturers in China, the world’s biggest supplier.

Canadian Solar Inc and Hanwha Q Cells Co have already reported steep declines in profit, and other companies will probably be affected as well, including JA Solar Holdings Co, which reports results Wednesday, and JinkoSolar Holding Co, the biggest publicly traded panel producer

“There’s just not enough polysilicon in China,” said Carter Driscoll, an analyst who covers solar companies for FBR & Co. “If prices don’t come down, it will crush margins.”

The price spike came after an environmental crackdown in China coincided with an annual lull in polysilicon output, according to Jenny Chase, head solar analyst at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Refiners in China typically cut back polysilicon production during the summer for routine maintenance.

Solar manufacturers anticipate the seasonal slowdown, but it was exacerbated this year when China’s Ministry of Environmental Protection shut down several plants that make metallurgical silicon, a partially refined polysilicon that other companies further purify for use in solar cells.

The two events led to a polysilicon shortage that drove prices in China from US$14 to $19 a kilogramme over the past four months, according to Guelph, Ontario-based Canadian Solar, which has most of its manufacturing in China.

“We didn’t expect the polysilicon price to go so high inside China and nobody expected it,” Chief Executive Shawn Qu said on a Nov 9 call with analysts. The second-biggest solar company’s gross margin slumped to 17.5% in the third quarter, from 24.2% in the second quarter, and its net income was less than half what analysts were expecting.

Cost ‘Challenge’

International trade disputes have made it difficult for Chinese manufacturers to look elsewhere for cheaper polysilicon, Driscoll said. Four years ago, China imposed steep tariffs on high-quality polysilicon imported from the US and South Korea, essentially forcing companies to buy locally.

“The elevated polysilicon prices will be a challenge for the group in China,” said Jeffrey Osborne, an analyst at Cowen & Co. “What happens next year is unclear given demand dynamics early in the year relative to the pace of additional supply coming online in China.”

Polysilicon is a semiconducting material refined from quartzite, a dense rock created when sandstone is crushed between tectonic plates. China-based companies including GCL-Poly Energy Holdings Ltd and Xinte Energy Co bake the material in giant ovens and treat it with chemicals until it condenses into ingots of near-pure polysilicon. Those ingots are sliced into wafers using diamond-edged saws, and then cut into squares to make solar cells that transform sunlight into electricity.

Third-quarter net income at Hanwha fell 88% from a year earlier to $5 million, in part because of “downward pressure on gross margin, caused primarily by increasing wafer prices”, the South Korea-based company said Nov 10.

JA Solar declined to discuss the issue until after its third-quarter results are released this week. JinkoSolar, which has not set a date to issue its results, didn’t respond to requests for comment.

Polysilicon prices vary by region. A Bloomberg New Energy Finance index of average global spot prices shows polysilicon climbed to $15.80 a kilogramme in October, the highest since July 2016. That’s well below the record set in 2008, when the solar industry first began to boom and prices spiked to $475 a kilogramme.

Solar companies’ exposure to prices will vary, in part depending on the length of their supply contracts. Canadian Solar, for instance, had access to a limited supply of low-priced polysilicon during the third quarter, thanks to contracts signed at the end of June. That’s no longer the case.

“I think in the long term things will balance, but we don’t have direct control of those raw materials, unfortunately,” Qu said. “I hope this is as high as it can go.”

This post has been published: www.bangkokpost.com

 

Solar cars begin race across Australian desert
 

SYDNEY (Reuters) - The World Solar Challenge began on Sunday with 42 solar cars crossing Australia’s tropical north to its southern shores, a grueling 3,000 km (1,864 mile) race through the outback.
The race from the northern city of Darwin to the southern city of Adelaide is expected to take a week for most cars, with speeds of 90-100 kmh (55-62 mph) powered only by the sun.

The fastest time was achieved by Japan’s Tokai University in 2009, completing the transcontinetal race in only 29 hours and 49 minutes.

Belgian team Punch Powertrain started first on Sunday after recording a trial time of 2:03.8 for 2.97 km (1.78 miles), hitting an average speed of 83.4 kmh (51.5mph).
But reigning 2015 champions Nuon from Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands believes it has a good chance of retaining the prize.

“All the cars look completely different (this year), and all we know is we’ve got a good car, we’ve got it running perfectly the last couple of days and we’re confident we’re going to do everything to win,” tour manager Sarah Benninkbolt said Sunday.

Race director Chris Selwood said the biennial event has attracted one of the best fields ever, with teams from more than 40 countries.

“This is the 30th anniversary of the Bridgestone World Solar Challenge and competitors want to be part of that. They have been drawn to the challenge of new regulations which reduced the solar array size without limiting the size of the solar car,” Selwood said.

Teams come from countries including the United States, Japan, Germany, Chile, Netherlands, United Kingdom, Malaysia, Belgium, Sweden, Iran, South Korea, India, Hong Kong, South Africa, Poland, Thailand, Turkey, Canada, Taiwan and Australia.

The Northern Territory Minister for Tourism and Culture, Lauren Moss said her government’s A$250,000 (US$194,150) sponsorship of the race showed it was committed to achieving 50 percent renewable energy for the territory by 2030.

“Innovation is at the heart of the event and the technology showcased this year will influence continuing solar innovation for vehicles and householders in the future,” she said.

“This event is a great promotion for the NT – it shows our ability to innovate to the world.”

Reporting by Benjamin Cooper; Editing by Michael Perry

This post has been published: solarenergy.einnews.com


 

Households allowed to sell solar power

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The government will end the decade-long restriction on households and commercial buildings selling power generated by their solar rooftops to state utilities in the fourth quarter of the year.

Deregulation will open the door for detached houses, warehouses, factories and offices to sell their leftover capacity to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

The buying rate is being fixed at below 2.6 baht per kilowatt-hour, according to the Energy Ministry.

At present, private actors are allowed to sell power to Egat through auctions under the small power producer (SPP) or very small power producer (VSPP) project.

Energy Minister Anantaporn Karnchanarat said the government is considering granting licences to residents and building owners.

The total capacity to be allowed, however, has yet to be finalised.

The licences and deregulation come after the previous solar deregulation project was scrapped when the military government came into power.

Gen Anantaporn said this could be another opportunity to let other solar-related businesses grow.

Initially, the purchasing rate that the state utilities will pay for surplus solar power from residents will be below 2.6 baht per kilowatt-hour, which is less than Egat charges for the fossil-based power it sells to consumers at about four baht per kilowatt-hour, he said.

The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency has been appointed to set up details and conditions for granting licences and the process to buy back power from the residents.

Gen Anantaporn said policymakers need to deliberate over details because there are several types of solar rooftop and different technologies -- resulting in different sizes of solar rooftop projects at different power costs -- before figuring out the regulation and licensing process.

Prasert Sinsukprasert, deputy director-general of the Energy Policy and Planning Office, said the regulations should be approved by October.

The Energy Ministry had assigned Chulalongkorn University's Energy Research Institute (ERI) the task of conducting a feasibility study of the plan. The ERI found that the deregulation of solar rooftops and letting people generate their own power would create minimal revenue losses for state utilities.

ERI researcher Sopitsuda Tongsopit said solar rooftops are expected to have a minimal effect on state utilities in generating backup power, as total power-generating capacity for solar remains small compared with the overall amount of electricity in the country's power supply system.

Thailand has 2,990 megawatts of solar power installed. Some 2,960MW, as of July, is from solar farms, while an additional 130MW is from rooftops.

This post has been published: Bangkokpost.com

While Thailand seemed to outshine ASEAN in solar power in 2015, the developments in 2016 showed delays and uncertainties. However, after only 470 MW solar power had been installed in 2014 and 722 MW in 2015, according to the latest data officially published by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) 732 MW have been installed just in the first nine months of 2016. And 2017 promises to show real growth and continuing development. This opens seven (7) opportunities for foreign investors to participate in Thailand’s solar power energy.

Walking on sunshine: Thailand’s solar energy blueprint

Thailand is continuing its integrated energy blueprint, consisting of a gas plan, oil plan, the Energy Efficiency Plan (EEP), the Alternative Energy Development Plan (AEDP) and the Power Development Plan (PDP) with the Smart Grid Plan (SGP). The targeted percentage of renewable energy production seems to be increased in the future.

The political risk of a (retrospective) cancellation of renewable energy incentives is small, but not non-existing. Section 44 of the Interim Constitution (“S44IC”) will be still in place in 2017 and gives the army manned NCPO (National Committee for Peace and Order) full and uncontrolled authority to reshape the energy legislation and regulatory framework without grandfathering, loss compensation, legal or court protection.

Technical enhancements and cost reductions might bring governmental incentives to an end, should the production of photo-voltaic and the solar energy production reach competitiveness with traditional power production. The legal impacts of such technological improvement have to be awaited with excitement.

solar-farm-acquisition.jpg.001

 

A brief history of time in Thailand’s solar energy

The overall developments in Thailand’s legislation and governmental policy can be summarized as follows:

1993: Solar off-grid program for rural non-electrified areas for villages, schools, health care clinics and water pumping. 100% governmental support with regular maintenance, 30 MWp in total.

2007: Introducing of “Adder (Feed-in Premium)” policy for the VSPP and SPP for all renewable energy generation up to 90MWp. (Solar PV target: 500 MWp, Adder: 8 baht/kWh or 23 UScent/kWh for 10 years)

2010: Solar PV target: 2,000 MWp. Since there were huge applications, the Adder decreased to 6.5 baht/kWh (or 18.6 US cent/kWh) for 10 years and an application moratorium had been introduced since June 2010. 

2013: The solar PV target increased to 3,000 MWp. Solar farm: 2,000 MWp with Adder for 10 years. Solar Rooftop: 200 MWp with FiT 6-6.84 baht/kWh for 25 years. Solar for community 800 MWp with decreasing FiT for 25 years

2014: Solar PV target increased to 3,800 MWp. Solar farm 1,800 MWp with Adder for 10 years, solar farm 1,000MWp-applied before June 2010, changed from Adder for 10 years to FiT 5.66 baht/kWh for 25 years, solar rooftop 200 MWp with FiT 6-6.84 baht/kWh for 25 years and solar for community 800 MWp – changed to solar for governmental agencies and agricultural cooperatives – with FiT 5.66 baht/kWh for 25 years

2015: Phase 1 of the Agency and Agricultural Cooperatives Program (Agro-Solar)

2016: Pilot project for Solar PV rooftop (for self-consumption) of 100 MWp and phase 2 of the solar for government agencies and agricultural cooperatives. 67 projects have won the right to sell a combined 281.32 megawatts (MW) of solar power to the national electricity grid for 25 years. Under the 2016 pilot project, the Energy Policy Management Committee divided in a resolution as of February 24, 2016, the 100 MW into 10 MWp for households (below 10 kWp) and 40 MWp for commercial use for EGAT and PEA each.

Policy changes in 2017

1.  The new 40% target: Thailand’s current Alternative Energy Development Plan aims to promote alternative energy usage to 25% of energy consumption. Recently, energy policymakers seem to have revised this percentage to 40% of the country’s total power generating capacity by 2036. This new target would result in total renewable power-generating capacity to 40,000 MW in 2036, up from 19,600 MW under the previous plan. 

2. Firm, semi-firm and non-firm PPAs: Power purchasing agreements will change from non-firm to semi-firm or firm power delivery contracts. During peak times for the power source, the PPA will contain a legal obligation to supply electricity to the governmental utility. Possible quota are

  • 100% output at peak time
  • 65% output at off-peak

While “firm” means throughout the year, the “semi-firm” is defined as firm for six months of the year (including March till June) and non-firm for the remaining six months.

Underperformance might require the power producer to pay (liquidated?) damages. In addition, the terms and conditions of the PPA may be more flexible and subject to an aggressive bidding process. This will affect new licenses for solar, wind, biomass, biogas and waste-to-power energy PPAs with a combined capacity of 1,000 MW to be granted to investors this year.

3. Investor pre-screening: The ERC will screen investors for active business. Inactive investors are disqualified from current biddings. This has to be seen in the light of roughly 200 MW of projects that obtained licenses in 2016 but did not invest at all. The exact criteria for the activity test are not yet disclosed – and might not be fully disclosed in the future.

4. May 2017: Although the collapse in solar panel prices is an international commonness, Thailand’s solar industry requests an increase of the feed-in tariff rate from currently THB 4.12 to the rates of 2013 (THB 5.66) or even the THB 8.50 as of the year 2006.

Seven business opportunities to participate in Thailand’s second solar gold rush in 2017

Business case 1 – Agro-Solar 2: The year 2017 will see the realization of the delayed 518 MW Agro-Solar phase 2 tranche at a feed-in tariff rate of 5.66 baht/kWh over 25 years. These project will still require the cooperation with governmental agencies and agricultural cooperatives, which is far from being free and easy. Phase 2 caught public attention by a petition filed by 2,000 agriculture cooperatives to stop and drop embarrassing formalities of a public tender for a lucky draw decision by the government’s agency EPPO. At least the chances for a swift drive forward reach nearly zero.

Business case 2 – Agro-Solar 1: The successfully awarded 67 projects under the Agro-Solar phase 1 solar farm program with a combined capacity of 281 MW are on the market and some of them still open for a participation or joint venture.

Business case 3 – SPP hybrid firm (10+ – 50 MW): The Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) will soon announce the new tender process “SPP hybrid firm” with a combined power-generating capacity of 300 MW. It will base on a firm PPA under which operators are obliged to supply an exact amount of power into the grid. To enable this, even when the sun does not shine, and the wind does not blow, the facility will have a biomass, biogas or similar energy generating facility backup, which results in its classification as a hybrid. FIT of THB 3.66(?)

Business case 4 – VSPP (max 10 MW): According to an announcement of the Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO) from November 2016, in 2017 solar farm licenses for VSPP will be granted to private firms (without governmental or quasi-governmental participation). The FiT will drop from 5.66 baht in 2016 to 4.12 baht in 2017 and 2018.

Solar, but also biomass and other renewable energy facilities with a total capacity of 289 MW will be the subject of VSPP licenses during this year. Terms and conditions to be announced soon by the ERC.

Do you like to know more? The law firm keeps foreign companies up-to-date on investment opportunities in Thailand’s energy and infrastructure sectors in its newsletter “Seven Opportunities“. Further information is available here.

Business case 5 – SPP non-firm (10+ – 90 MW): Power producing licenses to solar farm SPP (small power producer with a total power-generating capacity of 10-90MW) are currently under consideration.

Business case 6 – Rooftop with license: Thailand’s energy policymakers started to provide the private sector with better access to the state solar rooftop program in an attempt to promote the use of solar power. The program is now allowing private companies to apply for solar rooftop development licenses. Currently, companies are still barred from selling power back to utilities. Households and factories may be allowed to sell electricity from solar rooftops to the national power grid starting September 2017. It is yet undecided by the government whether this will need a license or not.

Business case 7 – Rooftop without a license: To go one step further, the solar power production for self-consumption (without the need for a power production license) will most likely gain relevance and importance. This relates in particular to solar rooftop PV facilities which currently have roughly 5% of Thailand’s total solar markets. Net metering and a smart grid concept are buzzwords for new technologies and policies.

The solar energy market in Thailand is still very active. PVTECH, the London-based solar industry authority wrote about our solar energy 2017 research <here> Our insights had been published in the Thailand Country Report of the Asian Power Magazine <here>. Ask the law firm for more details and a comprehensive support and legal assistance of your alternative energy project. More about solar energy in Thailand at pugnatorius.com/category/solar

This post has been published: Pugnatorius Ltd.

3D-printed solar panels are the key to green energy in developing countries

Now that public interest in solar has skyrocketed, engineers have been rushing to find more flexible and durable alternatives to older solar panels. At the same time, the makeup of solar technology puts it in a unique position to provide power to dry, sun-soaked climates—many of which happen to be in energy-poor, developing nations.

Solar investment data shows that many developing nations understand the advantages of solar and are heeding the call. From 2011 to 2013, solar investments in nations outside of the G-20 grew rapidly, rising from 5.8% of the total global share to 8% by the end of 2013. According to The Pew Charitable Trusts, developing countries in Southeast Asia comprise a proportionally large share of these investments, with nations like Thailand, Vietnam, and the Philippines all appearing in the top ten non-G-20 investors. Perhaps not coincidentally, the energy demand in these areas is expected to outpace richer nations in the next 10 to 15 years, meaning that residents of these countries will need to find a viable power source quickly if they hope to survive in tomorrow’s economy.

For many developing nations, however, the challenge has lain in conventional solar cell manufacturing. Cells are very difficult to make; refining silicon is a hugely intensive process that requires excessively high temperatures. However, the introduction of 3D printed cells may change that. The idea of using 3D printing to create necessary equipment is not new—printing has already begun revolutionizing the medical industry by producing life-saving devices in impoverished countries, like Haiti. However, giving these communities access to steady, reliable electricity can permanently benefit both the health of residents, and the economic futures of these nations.

3D printing: New accessibility in the manufacturing process

A chief benefit of 3D-printed cells is that they use different materials for the conversion process. Rather than relying on highly purified crystalline silicon disks—the standard material for most solar cells—printed cells are made from a compound called perovskite, a hybrid organic-inorganic lead or tin halide-based material. That’s what makes 3D printed cells easier to produce, since the crystalline silicon that goes in solar cells must go through extensive refining before it can be used to generate energy.

In its natural state, silicon contains impurities that must be extracted before it can be as used as a solar conductor. To do that, the raw silicon is fed into a superheated electric arc furnace, which frequently requires temperatures above 1000°C. Additionally, most solar-cell production uses hazardous solvents to give the components the right dexterity and durability—which must be handled by trained professionals.

Understandably, some areas just don’t have the resources to achieve this level of technology manufacturing. Perovskite cells, by contrast, have a relatively simple production process. They’re made from miniscule crystals, using inexpensive raw materials that don’t need to be repeatedly refined before they’re usable. The crystalline structure allows the cells to be used for various applications, as well, since the crystals can be mixed into a “solar ink” and then printed onto glass, plastic, or other surface.

Off-grid power for remote communities

Developing nations actually may actually have a slight advantage over more developed countries when it comes to their energy grids. While developed nations like the U.S. have struggled to integrate solar energy into existing power grids, many emerging nations are what Pew terms “energy poor,” meaning that they don’t have access to modern electricity sources, relying instead on older technologies, like charcoal. In some rural areas, far-flung communities are simply too remote to provide reliable power. In other cases, the developing nations have struggled to construct electrical grids.

However, because off-grid solar energy is self-sustaining, solar can provide energy to areas that would be difficult to power without enormous infrastructure investments. That’s particularly true when you consider the technology advances the storage industry has witnessed over the past few years. New tools, such as compressed air systems and lithium-ion batteries, are being perfected so they can serve the energy needs of a home or larger community long-term. Nations like India and China are investing heavily in solar storage—unreliable grids and poor electric in many areas throughout Asia make these countries prime candidates for an energy makeover.

All in all, it’s estimated that 3D printing has the potential to provide energy to 1.3 billion people who are currently without modern electricity. Indeed, the UN has a goal of providing universal energy access across the globe by 2030—a goal that’s going to require heavy technological investments. Perovskite cells aren’t a miracle cure by any means, and developers are currently working on correcting their limitations, such as the cells’ tendency to disintegrate when they come in contact with moisture. Additionally, some energy advocates feel that 3D printers are too expensive for many emerging nations to afford, especially in the numbers that would be required to serve remote communities. However, given the massive shifts we’ve witnessed in the energy sector to date, anything is possible.

This post has been published: solarenergy.einnews.com

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