REC's first PV venture in Thailand

26. April 2013 | Industry & Suppliers, Markets & Trends | By:  Shamsiah Ali-Oettinger

Norwegian company Renewable Energy Corporation (REC) has supplied close to 41,000 solar panels to a 9.5 MW power plant in Chiang Rai, in northern Thailand. The company has also opened its own Bangkok office.

Thailand is the second southeast Asian country REC is moving into. REC already has offices and a production plant in Singapore.

The Chiang Rai Solar Company project is said to be the largest solar power plant in northern Thailand, covering 24 hectares of mountainous terrain.

REC says this is the first Thai PV project to use REC solar modules. 7,200 households will benefit from the Chiang Rai power plant. The steep terrain proved to be a challenge and the solar panels had to be mounted on a special concrete structure. The power plant is connected to a high-voltage overhead line that already feeds 15,000 MWh annually into the Thai grid.

Chiang Rai Solar Company is a joint venture between Sonnedix and CK Power, an affiliate of CH Karchang, Thailand’s second-largest construction company. REC has already supplied solar modules for Sonnedix PV installations in Europe, thus making the choice relatively easy for Sonnedix. "REC solar panels were among the most reliable options for weather and climate conditions in Thailand and to comply with government regulations," said Franck Constant, Chairman of Sonnedix.

The Thai regulations are also attractive for PV at the moment. Jose Luis Martin, Project Development Manager Thailand, REC, explained, "Regulations are highly favorable at the moment. Power Purchase Agreements guarantee premiums on feed-in tariffs to incentivize new solar installations. Thailand is an exciting market and a magnet for solar investment."

REC, moreover, decided to move into the growing Thai PV market by opening an office in Bangkok. Martin added, "The best way to serve a market is simply to be there. A local presence in the country testifies that we’re taking a long-term view to our business activities in Southeast Asia."

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