Thailand launches net metering scheme for residential PV

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Thailand’s metropolitan and provincial electricity authorities have launched a net metering scheme for residential PV installations with a generation capacity of up to 10 kW.

Applications will have to be submitted to the country’s Office of the Energy Regulatory Commission, which will also be the buyer of surplus power produced by rooftop systems.

The net metering tariff, set for 10 years, will be THB1.68/kWh ($0.052), substantially lower than the current residential power price of THB3.80/kWh. Solar system owners will also have to pay a grid connection fee of around THB8,500.

Transition from FITs to self-consumption

The scheme is part of the recently updated power development plan, which will run to 2037 and envisages renewables supplying 35% of Thailand’s energy by that point. Clean energy currently meets around 10% of demand.

According to the latest statistics released by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Thailand reached an installed solar power generation capacity of 2,720 MW last year. Of that, however, only 23 MW were deployed in 2018, with most of the nation’s PV capacity installed between 2011 and 2016, when FITs were granted to large scale and rooftop projects.

The solar target for 2036 is set at 6 GW but IRENA suggested in a recent report that ambition could be raised to 17 GW. The agency cited abundant solar energy resource potential and rapidly falling system costs as the perfect combination for a rooftop PV market that is largely untapped.

In late 2017, the U.S. Agency for International Development and German development agency the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) issued recommendations to facilitate rooftop PV deployment in Thailand. GIZ Thailand said at the time, investors and end-consumers needed simple implementation guidelines to boost rooftop deployment.