Thai power agency increases floating solar investment

Thailand’s state power producer plans to invest nearly $9 billion to build more solar energy farms that float on top of reservoirs at its nine hydropower plants. The goal is to generate an additional 10 gigawatts of electricity by 2037.

The floating solar farms add solar power generation to existing hydropower plants, turning them into dual-use facilities for renewable energy production.

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand’s (EGAT) investment is dependent upon approval of the new national power development plan by the government, but EGAT executives said approval should be all but assured as the plans support the government’s goals and commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

In fact, the government has already approved EGAT’s plans to build solar farms on the nine reservoirs and produce 2,725 megawatts of electricity. But the new plan is to build those floating solar farms to be much larger so they can generate 10 gigawatts of electricity.

EGAT has already completed its first 45 megawatt floating solar farm atop the Sirindhorn Dam. It is now building a second floating solar farm with a capacity of 24 megawatts at the Ubon Rattana Dam. Both locations are in the Northeast.

When it went operational in 2021, the Sirindhorn Dam facility was the largest floating solar farm in the world. It has since been exceeded in size by a floating solar farm in China, and India is building one to compete with China for the title of the world’s largest.

Closer to people’s homes and businesses, Thailand’s building materials conglomerate SCG said it is targeting $30 million in sales of rooftop solar systems this year, which would  double its earnings from last year.