Business Technology

EGAT partners with Thai Army for solar power projects

The state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) plans to install the second 24-megawatt floating solar farm at Ubol Ratana Dam in Khon Kaen as part of its solar energy development expansion.

EGAT on Thursday announced a partnership with the Royal Thai Army to conduct a joint feasibility study on the construction of a 300MW solar farm on military land in the western province of Kanchanaburi.

In terms of power generation capacity, the new floating solar farm would on completion be second only to a 45MW floating solar farm at Sirindhorn Dam in Ubon Ratchathani, which EGAT claims is the largest in the world.

The Bangkok Post reported that the facility at Sirindhorn Dam is scheduled to start operating in June.

Officials are drafting terms of reference for the second facility in order to call a bid for its construction next year, according to EGAT director for hydro and renewable energy power plant development, Chatchai Mawong.

On average, the development cost of a floating solar farm would be around 30-35 million baht per megawatt, he said, citing the prices quoted in the global market.

The new floating solar farm at Ubol Ratana Dam, which is expected to begin operating in 2023, will work together with a hydropower power plant to produce electricity. The existing plant in that location also works in this way.

Under the 2018 National Power Development Plan, Egat plans to install a total of nine floating solar farms over the next 20 years at its dams nationwide, which will provide a combined capacity of 2,725MW.

EGAT governor Boonyanit Wongrukmit and the Royal Thai Army’s commander-in-chief Narongphan Jitkaewthae yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding to commence the joint study in Kanchanaburi.

“The study will provide details of the solar power business model and its long-term direction,” said Mr Boonyanit. “It will also list information regarding the partnership and benefit-sharing issues.”

The study would be finalised within this year’s second quarter, he said.

This project will require government approval, so it can be added to the national power development plan, which is being revised at this time.

Gen Narongphan said the army oversees 4.5 million rai of land countrywide and parts of this area have the potential for solar power development with a capacity of up to 30,000MW.

If a solar farm project in Kanchanaburi to be deemed feasible, construction would be based within a 3,000-rai plot of land in the province’s Kaeng Sian sub-district, which is part of a 300,000-rai area within the province overseen by the army. – TNR and Bangkok Post

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