ADB makes loan to Thai solar sector

By Chris Sleight13 October 2010

The Asian Development Bank has announced a THB 4.2 billion (US$ 145 million) loan to Thailand's Bangchack Petroleum Company (BPS) to build two solar power plants in central Thailand. The 8 MW and 30 MW plants are due to be completed in Ayutthaya, some 100 km north of Bangkok, next year.

Joe Yamagata, deputy director general of ADB's Private Sector Operations Department said, "This marks one of Thailand's biggest solar power plant projects and clearly shows the viability of large-scale solar power generation in the country and, indeed, elsewhere."

The solar plants are part of a strategy by the Thai government to generate 20.4% - about 5.6 GW - of its electricity from renewable sources by 2022. Its current generation from renewable sources is 1.75 GW.

According to the sate-owned Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT), the company depends on imported natural gas for about 70% of its energy requirements. It is also grappling with a steep rise in the demand with electricity, with projects showing a 4.22% per year increase between 2008 and 2020.

The power plants are also part of the ADB's Solar Energy Initiative, which aims to support the installation of 3 GW of generating power by 2013 with US$ 2.25 billion of financial support.

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