• A report by Germany’s Development Agency GIZ on PV in Thailand says growth will largely come from Agro-Solar projects
  • Under Agro-Solar, Thailand plans to set up solar farms on land owned by the government and agricultural cooperatives
  • Applications for the second phase of solar rooftop were received for a total capacity of 93.21 MW, as against the total allocated capacity of 78.63 MW
  • The new Solar Quick Win rooftop self-consumption pilot scheme targets to develop 100 MW capacity; details expected in June or July 2016

Thailand added 722 MW of new solar PV capacity in 2015, an increase of over 50% from 470 MW of newly installed projects in 2014. End of 2015, the country’s cumulative solar power capacity stood at 2,021 MW. According to the latest Alternative Energy Development Plan 2015-2036 (AEDP-2015), approved by the country’s National Energy Policy Council on September 17, 2015, growth of PV in 2016 will majorly be led by government agency and agricultural co-operatives program, Agro-Solar, according to a PV market update on Thailand from Germany’s Development Agency GIZ.

Agro-Solar for solar farms

Agro-Solar or Governmental Agency and Agricultural Cooperatives Program was introduced by the Thai government in August 2014 and aims to develop solar farms with up to 5 MW in size. These are to be developed through public private partnerships (PPP) with government sector or agricultural cooperatives as public partners. On April 1, 2016, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) announced new dates and process to apply for the same.

Under the program, the power solar farms will be located on land owned by the government and agricultural cooperatives with an installed capacity of 5 MW or less. Agro Solar will be implemented in two phases. In Phase I, the target is to develop 300 MW of capacity, while Phase II will achieve a capacity of 519 MW (500 MW and 19 MW leftover from Phase I). The COD for Phase I projects is set at December 30, 2016 and for the second phase, it is scheduled between Jan. 1 to June 30, 2018. The feed-in-tariff rate for this is set at 5.66 THB per kWh ($0.16). The application period for Phase II is expected to be announced in late 2016 or early 2017.

Solar Rooftop FiT

The current installed capacity of rooftop PV in Thailand is 89 MW. In Phase I, which was announced in 2013, the target in this category was 100 MW for commercial rooftops and 100 MW for residential. The commercial rooftop category achieved the targeted quota, but residential saw only 21 PPAs being signed. Hence, the COD deadline has been extended to June 30, 2016.

Phase II of the solar rooftops program was announced in August 2014, and the ERC allocated 78.63 MW of capacity to the residential category to fulfil its 100 MW target. However, applications were received for a total capacity of 93.21 MW. The final deadline now is June 30, 2016.

The FiT for residential rooftops (0-10 kW) comes to 6.85 THB per kWh ($0.19), for small commercial rooftops (10-250 kW) at 6.40 THB per kWh ($0.18) and for large commercial rooftops (250-1000 kW), it has been fixed at 6.01 THB per kWh ($0.17).

Solar Quick Win – launching self-consumption

The government has initiated a pilot project called Solar Quick Win to enable people to generate power ‘without any quantity or quota restrictions’ through rooftop PV. Under the pilot project, a capacity of 100 MW has been fixed. Out of this, both Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) will allow 50 MW to be developed (10 MW for residential scale and 40 MW for commercial scale). ERC is expected to announce details of this rooftop PV self-consumption pilot scheme in June or July 2016.

The above information is part of a new report titled ‘Thailand Solar PV Policy Update 5/2016’ by German Development Agency GIZ of the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy.

Thailand is targeting a capacity of 6,000 MW of solar PV by 2036. This will be part of the overall target of 19,684.4 MW of renewable energy capacity, which would translate into 30% share in final energy consumption by 2036.