By Sucheera Pinijparakarn
Kasikornbank and three partners in the solar-farm business are developing an innovative financial programme for small and medium-sized enterprises that are keen on setting up a rooftop photovoltaic power system and inverter at their plants and offices.
Photjanart Sangpruaksa, first senior vice president of KBank, said yesterday that the objective of the “K-Energy Saving Guarantee Programme” was to promote energy efficiency among SMEs.
The bank will open a 100-per-cent credit line for the projects. For every megawatt of output from rooftop solar systems, an enterprise is expected to require Bt60 million in funding.
The bank aims to attract Bt3 billion of new SME loan applications through the scheme.
The risk is low because its partner Yingli Green Energy (Singapore) will supply rooftop solar systems, while Huawei Technologies (Thailand) will supply inverters and Solventia Solar Co will help install the solar equipment for SMEs. KBank offers a maximum loan term of 12 years, but it charges the same rate as for general financial programmes because SMEs can save electricity costs with solar power.
“We expect SMEs can reduce electricity costs by 10-20 per cent and if they cannot reduce the cost, the energy service company will help subsidise the cost,” he said.
The bank believes that even though global oil prices are dropping at the moment, the trend of electricity costs will be upward, so SMEs should have tools to improve efficiency and competitiveness and this financial programme is one tool to help them, Photjanart said. Angie Koh, managing director of Yingli Solar, said this partnership was the first innovative financial programme in Southeast Asia. The company hopes that it will be part of helping Thailand become a low-carbon country in the near future.
Jesus Guerrero, managing director of Solventia, said the company decided to invest in Thailand because the country was spending heavily on renewable energy.
However, the problem of Thai SMEs in using this energy to save costs is financing, so the company discussed with KBank developing the programme to support SMEs that want to install rooftop solar arrays and inverters.