Thailand – Emerging Solar PV Opportunities

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Thailand is expected to experience significant near-term growth and develop into one of the leading solar PV markets in Southeast Asia. Thailand’s abundant solar resource, PV market maturity and the relative effectiveness of current solar policies provide an attractive growth environment for commercial, utility as well as residential-scale projects. The country currently has just under 500MW of installed solar PV capacity, but provided optimal growth conditions this could increase to between 1,200 and 2,000MW by 2017.

Through its national Alternative Energy Development Plan, Thailand has set one of the more ambitious regional solar PV targets at 3,000MW by 2021. The principal drivers that will allow Thailand to meet this goal are the Renewable Energy Adder Program (REAP) and the two newly introduced residential/commercial-scale and community feed-in tariff programs. In the past, REAP provided power producers operating renewable energy projects between 1 and 90MW in capacity with a variety of price premiums including a generation-based technology adder. While currently on hold, this initiative is expected to continue to be a driver for the development of larger projects.

At the other end of the capacity spectrum, residential and commercial-scale solar PV projects have not experienced the same level of development (98.7% of Thailand’s current solar PV capacity is made up of utility-scale projects >1MW in size).  This is expected to change following the Q3 2013 announcement by the Energy Regulatory Commission which introduced two new initiatives for <1MW rooftop projects as well as 1MW community-based ground-mounted projects (refer to the table below for feed-in tariff specifics). Having experienced substantial interest in previous initiatives which resulted in a large number of inactive and speculative applications, the Commission has set strict time lines for project installation (December 2013 for rooftop projects and December 2014 for ground-mount projects). Given these timelines, Thailand’s solar PV sector is set to undergo significant near-term growth.

Thailand Feed-in Tariff Program - Rates

Project Size

FIT Rate (USD/kWh)

Capacity Set-aside

0-10kW (rooftop)

0.224

100MW

10-250kW (rooftop)

0.211

100MW

250kW-1MW (rooftop)

0.199

1MW (community ground-mount)

Years 1-3

0.314

800MW

Years 4-10

0.210

Years 11-25

0.145

As part of its ongoing research into emerging global solar PV markets, ClearSky Advisors has recently published an analysis of the policy and market fundamentals that form the basis of the Thai renewable energy sector, focusing primarily on the solar PV sector.  If you are interested in more information about our Global Emerging Solar PV Market and Policy Intelligence service, please contact us at info@clearskyadvisors.com or call +1-877-333-5821.

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Photo Credit: Mikhail Koninin

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