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Western Thailand to see 31.5 megawatts of solar power by May

Western Thailand to see 31.5 megawatts of solar power by May
Visitors crossing the Bridge on the River Kwai located in Kanchanaburi province. Conergy will be building solar plants in both Kanchanburi province and Suphanburi province.

Three new solar power plants are set to rise in western Thailand this year following the signing of a new 31.5-megawatt solar deal between Conergy and Siam Solar Energy 1 Co., Ltd.

The German solar company will act as general contractor, supplier and installer for the three 10.5-megawatt solar power plants in the provinces of Suphanburi and Kanchanaburi, around 130 kilometers from the Thai capital of Bangkok.

Construction is expected to be completed by May of this year. The completed plants will have a total generation capacity of around 45,200 megawatt hours per year while preventing 24,000 tons of carbon emissions annually.

This is the second large-scale project that Conergy is undertaking for Bangkok-based S.S.E., a subsidiary of Thai Solar Energy Co., Ltd.

In autumn 2012, Conergy began construction of two solar power plants for S.S.E. with a total installation capacity of 21 MW. Both these plants are scheduled to be connected to the grid in the first quarter of 2013.

“With nine power plants and a total capacity of 70 megawatts, Conergy is one of the market leaders in Thailand,” said Marc Lohoff, Conergy chief sales officer Asia-Pacific and North America.

According to Mr. Lohoff, the company sees great potential in the Thai solar market as the country is seeking to move away from covering around half of its primary energy demand with imports and increase their current solar capacity of 370 megawatts.

“Thailand does not only have to import half of today’s energy demand but also has to meet an estimated 39 percent increase in energy demand in the next nine years according to the Thai Board of Investment,” said Conergy’s president for Asia and the Middle East, Alexander Lenz.

The Thai Board of Investment announced at the start of this year that they will boost their investments in renewable energy in an effort to meet this foreseen increase in demand (see related story).

Several policies are already in place to support investments in renewables, including tax incentives and benefits. The Provincial Electricity Authority also offers power purchase agreements for renewable power projects.

In the case of solar power, the P.E.A. offers a fixed purchase price which is comprised of the average electricity price plus an additional premium or “Adder” by way of remuneration. The Adder is currently set at 6.5 Thai Baht and is guaranteed for ten years.

“We are facing very favorable political and natural conditions in the country,” noted Mr. Lenz.

Thailand is considered particularly rich in solar power with average sunlight energy of 18.2 megajoules per square meter a day. It is already the site of what is said to be the largest solar plant in Southeast Asia, the 44-megawatt Sunny Bangchak (see related story). – K. Jalbuena

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