Purchase of energy from solar rooftops expected to be deregulated in April

The Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency is expected to propose to the National Energy Policy Committee headed by Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha next month a project to buy power generated from solar rooftops of households and commercial buildings.

The department chief Mr Praphon Wongtharua said that, in the initial stage, it was estimated that as much as 300 megawatts of electricity generated from solar rooftops would be purchased at a price not exceeding the price of energy sold by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (Egat).

The project which is now being worked out between the DAEDE and the energy regulatory committee before it is to be submitted to the energy policy committee chaired by the energy minister and, finally, the project will go to the National Energy Policy Committee for final approval.

Mr Praphon disclosed that, at present, the private sector was capable of generating power from their solar rooftops for their own use at price relatively lower than the price charged by the either the metropolitan electricity authority or the provincial electricity authority.

However, he pointed out that the private sector’s power generators would not gain the optimum benefits from solar rooftops if their leftover power cannot be sold into the power grid system.

It will be beneficial to the power producers if state utilities are allowed to buy energy from the private sector’s solar rooftops, he added.

The department has commissioned Chulalongkorn University to conduct a study on the most appropriate format for the purchase of power generated from solar rooftops of the private sector.

Three formats were proposed: purchase of 300 megawatt per year until the target of 6,000 megawatts is achieved in 2036; purchase of 600 megawatts per year up to 12,000 megawatts in 2036; and purchase of 1,000 megawatts per year for three years or up to 3,000 megawatts until 2020.

Sellers of energy from solar rooftops are divided into three groups: households, big commercial buildings of big factories, and medium-sized buildings or factories. The acceptable prices are 2.30-2. 50 baht/ unit for households; less than one baht/unit for big buildings or factories; and one baht for medium-sized buildings or factories.