USAID, GIZ release PV guidelines for Thailand

USAID and GIZ Thailand designed the implementation guidelines for Thailand’s Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency. In cooperation with the Metropolitan Electricity Authority, Provincial Electricity Authority and the Thai Photovoltaic Industries Association, the department will use the recommendations to encourage the installation of solar panels in the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment.

“USAID and GIZ Thailand will continue to collaborate and provide assistance to the public and private sectors in renewable energy development,” said Angela Hogg, director of the USAID Regional Environment Office. “We hope that they will provide tools to help unlock the solar PV rooftop market in Thailand, resulting in an increase in solar PV rooftop deployment in Thailand and then replicating this to other countries in the region.”

GIZ Thailand said that investors and end-consumers need simple implementation guidelines to help get rooftop solar projects off the ground. And developers of C&I solar projects are starting to emerge as important drivers of PV development in Thailand, it added.

“It simply makes economic sense to go solar,” said Phairat Ueshooyos, chairman of Star Aire (Thailand) at a recent ceremony to mark the completion of the company’s first installed PV system.

A number of companies have jumped into Thailand’s C&I rooftop solar market this year, with a handful of Japanese companies showing early interest in the emerging segment. In June, Solar Frontier revealed that it had installed solar panels on top of a factory owned by Thailand’s Kaosu Packing (Sriracha) Industry in the country. This past summer, Sharp Solar Solution Asia announced plans to install PV modules on top of stores owned by Bangkok-based hypermarket retailer Big C. In addition, Kyocera recently confirmed that it remains committed to the Thai PV market by announcing plans to expand its partnership with local solar developer SPCG.

Roughly 730 MW of solar capacity was installed in Thailand in 2016, according to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). Although growth in Thailand’s ground-mount PV market is expected to remain sluggish in the near term, as the government rethinks its policy support programs, analysts expect to see more distributed-generation PV development in the country. In September, local media reported that the government was preparing to allow homeowners and commercial buildings to sell electricity from rooftop solar arrays to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand by the end of the year, for example.