Rooftop solar power-sharing plan in the works

The sun shone a little brighter on the prospects for solar power in Thailand last week when the Metropolitan Electricity Authority (MEA) and solar power producer BCPG agreed to conduct a feasibility study for the introduction of a rooftop solar power-sharing system and grid that should be up and running within two years.

“The MEA has the full infrastructure to support the solar PV (photovoltaic) rooftop program, while BCPG has knowledge and blockchain technology to apply for the prosumer system,” said Bundit Sapianchai, president of BCPG.

Prosumer is shorthand for “production-by-consumer.” in Prosumer systems allow consumers with a rooftop or home solar systems to sell extra power they generate back to the grid run by the state electric agencies. The ability to sell back excess power is a strong incentive for homeowners to invest in solar systems, as it allows them to recoup some of their investment and even reap profits in the longer term.

Bundit said that the government should be ready to launch the prosumer solar system sometime early next year.

More widespread adoption of solar power and renewable energies would help Thailand achieve its goal of sourcing 50 percent of its energy supplies from renewable sources in 40 years time. Thailand is already the leader in solar and wind energy production in Southeast Asia.

The government has conferred with its state energy agencies about the more widespread adoption of prosumer solar sharing systems, and the Bangkok Post reported that it will announce a business model and investment conditions soon.

BCPG is the solar power subsidiary of Bangchak Corporation, one of the largest private-sector energy producers in Thailand. BCPG was founded in 2015, and also is involved in wind power, biomass power, hydropower and geothermal power.

MEA governor Chaiyong Puapongsakorn said his agency is focusing on energy storage technology in order to secure future power supply. He added that the MEA believes peer-to-peer (P2P) power-sharing will become a major mode of power generation and supply in coming years.

“Although it remains unclear how P2P and blockchain will be applied to the Thai power market, the MEA must prepare for this trend,” Chaiyong said.