Banpu targets 300 MW with new downstream unit

The Bangkok-based mining firm and energy producer describes newly established group unit Banpu Infinergy as a “one-stop provider of total solar energy solutions,” ranging from consultation and system design to installation and maintenance. It will initially work with industrial and private customers, including factories, hotels, schools and petrol stations, according to an online statement. The group did not specify whether Banpu Infinergy will limit its focus to Thailand, or if it plans to seek opportunities in other markets.

“We have more than 30 years of experience and expertise in the coal and power businesses, but we are also eager to develop renewable energy,” said Somruedee Chaimongkol, director of Banpu Infinergy and CEO of its parent. “The renewable energy trend in Thailand will become clearer as it is in other countries, such as Japan, China, Australia and the U.S., where solar energy is widely utilized.”

In the first stage of a phased rollout, Banpu Infinergy will focus on supplying and installing rooftop PV systems, as well as solar-powered street lights and unspecified “accessories.” It said that it plans to offer three different sales packages, including one that includes “zero investment” PV system installation and free maintenance over periods of 20 to 25 years, but its announcement was light on details. 

All of the new company’s PV systems will be monitored from a centralized control center. However, Banpu did not elaborate on its plans or how it aims to achieve its goals, beyond saying that it also plans to eventually expand its focus to energy management platforms and storage systems.

While Banpu’s new Banpu Infinergy unit clearly marks the Bangkok-listed miner’s shift into solar project development, it has already invested in several PV projects. In April 2016, it announced plans to invest $170 million in seven solar installations throughout Japan, totalling 54 MW. All of the projects will be completed by 2018. And in May 2016, Banpu revealed plans to invest $93 million in four unspecified PV projects in China.

“[Banpu Infinergy is] considered a step forward from our solar farm plants in China and Japan,” said Chaimongkol.

The Bangkok-listed mining and energy group posted a net profit of $107 million in the first half of this year. It recorded a net profit of $47 million in 2016.