Solar power sector shining brighter on new development plan

Energy analysts said last week they are expected a surge in investments in solar power by a slew of listed companies after the adoption of a new national power development plan that encourages competition and off-grid power generation.

Renewable energy advocates hailed the new plan and said it would help Thailand transition towards clean energy and achieve its goals of reducing carbon emissions and generating 25 percent of total power from green and renewable sources by 2037.

Under the new national power development plan, energy regulators will allow independent power supply companies to produce and sell 12,752 megawatts (MW) of power with no requirement to sell it to the national grid. This would encourage more homes and businesses to invest in and install rooftop solar panels and systems.

In the previous plan, only a model in which power must be sold to the national grid was permitted. The change should foster competition in the solar power and renewable energy sectors.

Several listed companies had withdrawn from the solar power business, according to the Bangkok Post, because the old rules resulted in limited business opportunities. “After the official announcement of the new version, many companies changed their minds,” the paper wrote.

Thailand’s SCG, the region’s largest building materials company, has launched a ‘solar roof solution’ to expand its business into the household solar market. “Demand for solar rooftops, on the contrary, is rising as many property owners want to generate their own power,” said Thongchai Sopon of SCG.

Gunkul Engineering has launched its solar panel brand GRoof and said it expects to earn over $2 million this year from 300 solar rooftop buyers, including 34 systems sold to Charoen Pokphand Foods, the Kingdom’s largest food company.