Thailand aiming for 6 GW of solar by 2036

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Thailand is embracing renewable energy with a recently announced goal to achieve a 30% share of renewable energy 2036, which will equal a total installed renewable energy capacity of 19,635 MW combined, including hydro power.

The country is aiming for 6,000 MW of installed solar PV capacity as part of that figure, according to a recent report by Germany’s German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy and GIZ, the German government’s international development agency. Germany is assisting Thailand’s move towards increased renewable energy development through its Renewable Energy Development Program, which aims to support the market development of renewable energies in the region by fostering sustainable German-South East Asian business partnerships.

In September, the Thai government approved the latest Alternative Energy Development Plan, which outlines the country’s ambitious targets.

According to Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC), the country currently has a total of a total of 1,601.36 MW of installed solar, including 1,520 MW of solar farms and some 82 MW of rooftop installations.

Current programs

In September, the government launched the Governmental Agency and Agricultural Cooperatives Program (Agro-Solar) with a target of 800 MW. The program aims to realize solar farms of up to 5 MW in size in the form of public private partnerships with the governmental sector or agricultural cooperatives as public partners.

The program allows the purchase of power from solar farms located on land owned by the government and agricultural cooperatives with an installed capacity of 5 MW or less at a feed-in tariff of THB 5.66 per kilowatt hour ($0.158/kWh) under a 25-year power purchase agreement.?

The application process for the Agro-Solar program consists of two phases. Phase 1 will have a total target of 600 MW for regions with transmission line currently available. Phase 1 projects will have to be online by Sept. 30, 2016. Phase 2 will target the remaining 200 MW, with projects due to begin operation by Jan. 1 and June 30, 2018.

Overall, the Thai government is expected to invest some THB 36 billion ($1 billion) in the projects in 2016.

Thailand’s Energy Regulatory Commission has said it expects some 1,200 applicants in Phase 1, including both private developers and public agencies. According to a Reuters report, companies planning to take part include Thai Solar Energy, which plans to partner with cooperatives and state agencies for 49 MW, and Inter Far East Energy Corp, which is looking to develop 11 MW of projects with the Thai navy.

In addition, the government launched commercial and residential rooftop program in 2013 aimed at installing 200 MW of solar. Commercial installations quickly reached their 100 MW limit, while residential installations initially reached 21 MW with a further 93.21 MW of projects that applied with Metropolitan Electricity Authority and due to become operational by year’s end.