• Bloomberg has reported EGAT of Thailand has plans to build 2.7 GW of floating solar power capacity by 2037 using space on its dam reservoirs
  • A total of 16 such projects have been planned for 9 of its hydroelectric dam reservoirs
  • EGAT will hold competitive auctions to build this capacity, starting with 45 MW for Sirindhorn Dam to be set up for THB 2 billion ($63 million)
  • Future plans include adding lithium-ion battery storage to store power generated by these projects

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) is planning to build 2.7 GW of floating solar power capacity on its dam reservoirs by 2037. This capacity will be established in the form of 16 solar farms on 9 of its hydroelectric dam reservoirs, according to Bloomberg. Future plans include using lithium-ion battery energy storage to store power generated by these projects.

Project development rights will be awarded through an international competitive bidding process due to be launched within 2 months. The first floating solar project to be up for auction in this list will have 45 MW capacity for the Sirindhorn Dam in northeast Thailand to be established for a budget of THB 2 billion ($63 million).

The largest floating PV project on the list with 325 MW capacity will be deployed on Sirikit Dam Phase I and is planned to come online by 2035. Another project with 24 MW capacity is the lowest capacity in the list to come up on Ubol Ratana Dam by 2023.

Speaking to the news portal, Thepparat Theppitak, a Deputy Governor with EGAT, said EGAT hopes to improve its hydroelectric power production with these solar systems, even though floating solar is about 18% more expensive compared to ground-mount units. Once and if these projects come online, floating solar will account for one-tenth of Thailand’s clean energy sources, according to BloombergNEF.

Because solar power sources will be located near hydro power generation, the utility will save money on other infrastructure to bring it to the grid. Though Bloomberg calls it an ‘ambitious bet’, BloombergNEF’s Head of Solar, Jenny Chase sees this as a ‘great combination of long-term and well-structured planning, with individual projects identified already’.

Singapore’s Economic Development Board in November 2018 launched a request for information proposals for a 100 MW floating solar PV system for private sector consumption in November 2018 (see 100 MW Floating PV Project Tender In Singapore). In the same month, a report by the World Bank and Singapore’s SERIS pegs more than 400 GW potential for global floating PV capacity if the world decided to use only 1% of total available surface area to install floating PV panels (see World Bank: Gigantic Potential For Floating PV).