Energy

Thailand’s largest solar plant gives hope for more private sector projects

By replacing fossil fuels, the solar plant will avoid release of more than 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into atmosphere over next 25 years

 
By Mridul Ganguly
Last Updated: Thursday 16 June 2016
The solar power plant transformed poor farmlands into highly efficient and productive organic farms Credit: Activ Solar / Flicker
The solar power plant transformed poor farmlands into highly efficient and productive organic farms Credit: Activ Solar / Flicker The solar power plant transformed poor farmlands into highly efficient and productive organic farms Credit: Activ Solar / Flicker

Thailand’s first large-scale solar power plant demonstrates the feasibility of large, private sector solar farms and leads the way to a greener future. This is Asia’s one of the largest solar generation plants developed and operated by Natural Energy Development Co Ltd (NED), a $250-million joint venture between CLP, Diamond Generating Asia and the Electricity Generating Public Company.

Impact of solar plant on communities

The company built the 55-megawatt photovoltaic solar plant in central Thailand’s Lopburi province in just 18 months. Later, its capacity was augmented to 84 megawatt. Over 10,000 people living in 21 villages within a radius of the solar plant have benefitted from this. This project not only provided green energy but also helped in community development and bringing prosperity.  Earlier, for many villagers, migrating to Bangkok was the only option for them to earn their living as the land wasn’t fertile and jobs were scarce. However, this project opened new employment opportunities at home.

Benefits to environment

NED partnered with schools and local community members with the goal of developing a model to demonstrate how renewable energy can improve standard of living and generate livelihood. The company gave financial support to the farmers so that they could learn sustainable agriculture and efficient organic farming methods. Poor farmlands were transformed into highly efficient and productive organic farms with solar panels powering electrical irrigation pumps.

Schools and local communities were donated solar panels that no longer worked to their fullest potential. Solar farm began feeding power to the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand on December 22, 2011, and since then it has been providing green and clean electricity to 70,000 households.  By replacing fossil fuels, the solar plant is expected to avoid release of more than 1.3 million tonnes of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere over next 25 years.

Thailand making a shift to renewable energy

The project reflects the feasibility of large, private sector solar farms and good governance with the Thai government leading the way. According to a report by Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership, a Vienna-based non-profit, 12.3 per cent of national fuel consumption comes from renewable energy sources.

Indian government has recently announced its plan to double the investment for clean energy research over the period of next five years from $72 million to $145 million. This is the perfect opportunity for India to follow the steps of Thailand.

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  • its good for world

    Posted by: PriyadarshiPritishKumar | 4 years ago | Reply