Thailand planning floating solar farms at industrial estates

Thailand’s government is planning on powering some of its industrial estates by building floating solar energy farms within their confines as the Kingdom steadily moves towards green energy and environment-friendly approaches to industry.

“The Thai government wants to promote a good environment for industrial estates and industries,” said Industry Minister Suriya Juangroongruangkit.

To move the project forward, the Industrial Estate Authority of Thailand (IEAT) signed a memorandum of understanding with the Provincial Electricity Authority for a feasibility study. The plan is to build four floating solar plants in four industrial estates with a total capacity of 60 megawatts.

The IEAT expects to spend over $30 million building the first facility at the Map Ta Phut Industrial Estate in Rayong province. The farm would supply electricity to factories sometime in 2021.

Three other floating solar farms are planned for industrial estates in Songkhla province in the south, Saraburi province in the central plains, and Lamphun province in the north. All will supply power to manufacturing plants.

Floating solar farms are solar panels floating on reservoirs, which are already used to generate hydropower. Combining the two means the utility will not need to spend as much on infrastructure tying the solar portion into the grid, and the system will improve the overall output of the hydropower plants,

This is not Thailand’s first program for floating solar plants. The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand last year unveiled plans to build 16 floating solar plants across the country. They will supply 2.7 gigawatts of power.

Thailand’s government has set a goal for renewable energy to make up 30 percent of overall power capacity by 2036, according to its latest power development plan.

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