Bangkok, November 8, 2010 — Suntech Power Holdings, the world’s largest producer of solar panels, will supply 9.43 MW of solar panels and technical support for the second phase of a 44 MW solar power plant in Thailand.
Owned by Bangchak Petroleum Public Co., Ltd., and integrated by Solartron Public Co., Ltd., the landmark solar power plant will be one of the largest in Thailand and Southeast Asia.
The 9.43 MW contract comes after Suntech was chosen to provide 34.5 MW of solar panels and technical support for the project’s first phase, announced in August 2010.
With groundwork construction underway, the complete 44 MW capacity solar power plant remains on schedule to be grid-connected by late-2011.
The facility will then generate decades of renewable energy for the booming metropolis and surrounding areas, which will be purchased and distributed by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand and the Provincial Electricity Authority under long-term power purchase agreements. Altogether, the project will create more than 200 local jobs in Thailand for the facility’s development, installation and maintenance.
“This historic solar project represents the beginning of our fifteen billion Bhat initiative to develop around 140 MW of installed solar capacity in Thailand,” said Dr. Anusorn Sangnimnuan, President of the Bangchak Petroleum Public Co., Ltd. “We are excited about working with Suntech to achieve long-term energy security and to combat climate change, as we strive to become a carbon-neutral company.”
On October 12, Bangchak signed a 15-year loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank for up to $140 million, part of ADB’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative to support projects that will help Asia realize its solar power potential.
The strategic initiative aims to provide $2.25 billion in financial support to facilitate 3,000 MW of solar power capacity in ADB’s developing member countries by mid-2013.
“This project makes it clear that large-scale solar power plants are viable in Thailand and in other countries in Asia,” said Daniel Wiedmer, Investment Specialist with ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department. “Solar energy will help to power Thailand’s economic expansion and meet growing industrial and residential demand for power in a way that will generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than if the country were to rely on fossil fuels alone.”
Located in Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya, forty kilometers outside Bangkok, the solar project represents a major milestone in Thailand’s ambitious goal to meet 20 percent of its total energy consumption with renewable sources by 2022.
Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s largest energy consumers, and EGAT projects the country’s energy demand to grow by an average 4.22 percent annually between 2008 and 2020.
According to the Thailand Energy Policy and Planning Office, Thailand imported 54 percent of its primary energy consumption in 2009, down from 68 percent in 2004, as the country seeks to achieve greater energy security through the use of local, renewable energy resources.