ENC Weekly Highlight : PDP2018 allows govt to buy 10,000 MW of rooftop solar power

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Thailand’s Energy Ministry will start buying electricity from private rooftop solar power generators next year with a target of purchasing more than 10,000 megawatts towards 2036.

According to the draft of Thailand’s 2018 Power Development Plan (PDP), an average of 100 megawatts (MW) of electricity from rooftop solar sources will be purchased per year during 2019-2023. From 2027 onwards, the purchase will jump to 1,000-2,000 MW per year.

A series of public hearings have been held nationwide on the updated 2018 PDP with the last hearings organized in Chiang Mai and Khon Kaen on Dec 3 and Dec 4, respectively. Solar energy is one of the most popular topics. The plan, however, is scheduled for approval by the National Energy Policy Committee at its upcoming meeting on Jan 7, 2019. The meeting has been rescheduled from its original date on Dec 19, 2018.

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Based on the updated PDP, 1,122 MW of rooftop solar energy will be purchased from the private sector in 2027 after the initial purchases of smaller amounts in the first five years.

During 2027-2036, purchases will rise further to reach a total of 10,000 MW (see graph).

Overall, the 10,000 MW of energy from privately-owned solar panels will be counted as a reliable capacity of 4,250 MW.

At this stage, the Energy Ministry is working on criteria and conditions on how to purchase solar energy from the private sector for approval by the National Energy Policy Committee.

The first 100 MW of solar energy is expected to be in the national power distribution system as early as next year with amounts rising to 200 MW in 2020; 302 MW in 2021; and 499 MW in 2023.