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Thailand looking to share solar expertise

The Natural Energy Development Co. Ltd. (NED), owner of the largest thin film solar power plant in the world, is interested in sharing its expertise in solar energy to the Philippines.

The Thailand-based solar firm, which operates a 224-hectare solar power plant, believes that solar technology such as theirs will be viable in a country like the Philippines.

Chaiwut Saengpredekorn, plant manager of the Lopburi solar power plant, said that solar technology is sustainable.

NED’s 73 MW solar power plant in Thailand took 1.5 years to build.

NED installed more than 545,000 thin-film solar photovoltaic panels for its solar power plant, the biggest installed in Asia.

To date, the company is expanding by another 11 MW that would bring its solar plant to a total of 240 hectares by the first quarter of next year.

According to NED, the new frameless glass-on-glass thin-film solar cells are optimal for use in a high-temperature climate as compared to crystalline solar cells.

The Department of Energy for its part is eyeing 50 megawatts (MW) of solar capacity to be installed in the country from 2011 and 2015.

The DOE is planning to double that capacity for every succeeding five years until it reaches 350 MW by 2030.

In July, the Energy Regulatory Commission has already approved a feed-in-tariff (FIT) rate of P9.68 a kilowatt-hour for solar.

The FIT rates, which refer to the guaranteed price which renewable energy developers will be paid for the energy which they will produce, is perceived to boost the renewable energy industry in the country by providing developers with incentives over the next 20 years.

NED is a joint venture between Thailand’s Electricity Generating Public Company (Egco), Hong Kong-based China Light & Power Company Limited, and Diamond Generating Asia Company Limited.

In the Philippines, Egco-controlled Quezon Power Philippines Ltd. is looking to put up a 48-megawatt wind power project in Mindoro.

Quezon Power also owns a 460-MW coal plant in Mauban, Quezon.

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