Thailand – New Solar Energy Drive Gains Momentum

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World's largest ever PV solar farms near Bangkok has given a boost to Thai government.

The announcement of plans to build one of the world’s largest ever PV solar farms near Bangkok has given a boost to Thai government plans to accelerate national development of PV markets. The plant, to be built at Lop Buri by a Japanese – Chinese – Thai consortium, will have a capacity of over 70MW. Completion is forecast for 2011, subject to approval of an environmental impact assessment and normal construction permits.

More good news is also emerging to support the new drive for PV growth: first-phase approval has been given for a cumulative total of 1 GW of PV generating facilities in Thailand. This first-phase approval means authorisation to receive the guaranteed feed-in tariff, and is separate from building and construction permits, but is critical to financial viability of many projects. As if to anticipate the flood of permit applications that will follow, the Thai government has indicated that five separate application processes for building permits needed for PV installations are to be merged under a single umbrella.

All the news is being used as a backdrop to SolarBusiness Bangkok 2010, Thailand’s first ever national conference on developing the PV market, to be held on 22/23 March in Bangkok.The 2009 national Renewable Energy Plan for Thailand gives solar energy the highest national potential among all renewable energy sources, and the March conference is a key milestone in the drive to accelerate action in business. Apart from providing a full overview of technology and cost trends to national players, the agenda includes discussions about government guarantees of feed-in tariffs, financing mechanisms, and performance and testing standards. The conference is supported by the Thai Ministry of Energy and leading private-sector players in Thailand and abroad.

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