Thai Solar Heating Up


BMI View : TSE ' s plans to build 80MW of solar capacity by the mid-2013, as well as a further 100MW of capacity in the near term reflect the increasing attractiveness of Thailand's solar sector. In our opinion, the attractiveness of the sector has been greatly improved by the country's scheme for promoting renewable energy in conjunction with lower solar panel prices. At present, we believe the new capacity from TSE represents an upside risk in our 2013 solar energy forecasts , but has refrain ed from intervening in our forecasts due to the lack of details in TSE ' s new projects.

On February 15 2013, Thai Solar Energy (TSE) announced that it had signed a financing agreement with Bangkok Bank for a credit line of THB5.4bn (US$181mn). TSE has said that the funds would be used to complete 80MW of solar projects by mid-2013 at a total expected cost of THB7bn. The first 40MW would be supplied to the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) in April, and the remaining 40MW would come online in June. Once completed, the total output of the plants is expected to provide TSE with revenues of THB1bn per annum. Additionally, TSE has also announced plans to invest THB8bn in adding 100MW to its total capacity, and will participate in bidding for the next round of new solar licenses.

We believe that TSE ' s ambitious expansion plans reflect the increasing attractiveness of Thailand's solar sector. Although the company currently operates a 5MW solar thermal plant , TSE has begun ramping up its solar capacity since November 2012 by investing in two solar plants with a combined capacity of 21MW. More recently, in January 2013, TSE announced that it had awarded the construction contracts for three more solar parks with an installed capacity of 10.5MW each to Conergy. TSE's first wave of plants are expected to be connected to the grid in the February 2013, and its second wave of plants are scheduled to be completed by May 2013.

In our opinion, the attractiveness of the sector has been greatly improved by the country's scheme for promoting renewable energy in conjunction with lower solar panel prices. The country promotes solar energy by paying a premium known as an 'adder' above the average electricity price. At present, producers that enter into a power purchase agreement (PPA) with the PEA may receive an adder of THB6.5/kWh (US$0.22), and this value is guaranteed for 10 years. Additionally, panel prices have been on the decline due to global oversupply, which has greatly increased the financial viability of solar energy ( see our online service, October 18 2012, 'Changing Dynamics Of Renewables Manufacturers'). To be sure, during the Solar Power Policy dialogue conducted by the government in September 2012, the government announced that it had approved 2,205MW of solar energy PPAs with the majority of tenders submitted over the past three years.

Prices Falling, Volumes Rising
Polysilicon Price, US$/kg (LHS) And Total PV Modules Production, MW (RHS)

We believe the new capacity from TSE represents an upside risk to our 2013 solar energy forecasts . Earlier this year, we had revised up our solar energy forecasts for 2013 to account for the completion of TSE's first wave of projects, as well as 48MW of projects by German-based Juwi ( see 'Strong Pipeline Supports Renewables Growth', January 31 2013). However, we have refrain ed from making significant changes to our forecasts due to the lack of details in TSE ' s new projects.

THAILAND - FEED-IN TARIFFS
Sector Scale Tariff (THB/KWh) Special Adder - Diesel Replacement (THB/kWh) Special Adder - 3 Southernmost Provinces (THB/kWh) Payment Period (Years)
Source: BMI's Feed-In Tariff Database.
Biomass = 1MW 0.5 1 1 7
Biomass >1MW 0.3 1 1 7
Biogas = 1MW 0.5 1 1 7
Biogas >1MW 0.3 1 1 7
Waste (Landfill and Digestor) 2.5 1 1 7
Waste (Thermal Process) 3.5 1 1 7
Wind = 50kW 4.5 1.5 1.5 10
Wind > 50kW 3.5 1.5 1.5 10
Hydro = 50kW 1.5 1 1 7
Hydro 50kW =< 20kW 0.8 1 1 7
Solar 6.5 1.5 1.5 10
This article is tagged to:
Sector: Power, Renewables
Geography: Thailand, Thailand, Thailand, Thailand