Thailand to transfer quota to rooftop if farms not operational

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To reach its government quota for solar generated power, Thailand may look to rooftop installations, should solar farms fail to complete commercial operation by December 2013, according to local news reports.

The Thai government aims for 2GW by 2013 to come from solar farms. Reportedly the minister for energy, Pongsak Ruktapongpisal, is now considering using rooftop solar to fulfil this quota, should any PV plants not be operational in time for the December cut off, according to The Nation

Power purchase agreements for solar farm energy are with the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA), with contracts specifying the December deadline. If the deadline is not met, contracts will be terminated.

The National Energy Policy Commission (NEPC) approved two new energy policy packages in July, consisting of feed-in tariff rates for rooftop solar until 2013, and ground-mounted solar systems until 2014, with a total target of 1GW. The additional 1GW increased Thailand’s solar target to a new goal of 3GW by 2021, up from the previous target of 2GW.

The first tranche of the NEPC added 1GW target sets a 200MW rooftop quota, to be fulfilled by December 2013.The second tranche equated to a quota of 800MW for utility solar, which must be installed by December 2014.

The use of rooftop solar would lower the amount of feed-in-tariff payments made by the government for solar generated power, as the current tariff for rooftop household and business installations for 0-10kW systems is THB6.96p (US$0.22) per kWh, for larger 10kW-450kW installations the tariff is THB6.555 (US$0.21), and the tariff for installations of 450kW-1MW is THB6.16 (US$0.20). The rate is set for 25 years for rooftops completed by December 2013.

The EPPO told PV Tech no prices for utility-scale projects after 2014 have been confirmed and no tariff or further subsidy for rooftop solar installed after December 2013 is expected.

The minister was also reported to want Thailand to aim for 20,000 residential PV installations, and is seeking agreements with financial institutions to offer solar installation leases, according to The Bangkok Post.

Thailand is predicted as the future leader of the emerging markets in installed capacity, with 2.9GW to be installed within the next four years, according to IHS market research.

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