Mon, January 24, 2022


Thais still not awake to potential of solar

  • Home
  • »
  • life
  • »
  • Thais still not awake to potential ...

Re: “Solar-powered Thailand and the future of renewable energy in SE Asia”, The Nation, March 29.

Having solar on the roof with a 5-kva inverter, my power bill has been a constant Bt40 a month for years. The benefit of solar is well worth the outlay. Solar hot-water-tanks are still very hard to come by and more companies need to expand into this market to bring the price down. Solar-panel life and power generation have improved since I installed my 10 panels, so those who come after will get a better product,
Investing in solar by the Thai government is minimal, yet the sun is there every day, while coal and nuclear have too many by-products.
Only trouble is the area that needs to be used to generate the power needed. Coal and nuclear take up minimal space and generate more usable power. Wind is a valuable source of power but the height needed to generate the same power outputs as coal and nuclear means turbines would need to be built up in the jet stream, or some sort of kite device be invented.
Thorium testing is still going on and indications so far are no by-product for use in nuclear power plants. Investing in these companies may be a good thing. I will keep looking and learning what small part I can play in leaving a better place for my children.
Interesting to hear of someone in Thailand with solar power. I just built a sleep-out near my house in New Zealand and got a standalone system with a built-in battery. It was a surreal moment when I plugged the panel into the unit and it started charging. I always had the opinion that solar did not produce enough energy. In reality it is just that we use too much and need to become more energy efficient.
I only paid $400 for a solar kit to run my entertainment system, charge my devices and run the lights. Would have cost at least $1,000 to get my sleep-out hardwired, probably more if the wire had to be trenched. In other words solar saved me at least $600. Five minutes to install made it even more surreal. I am now saving my power bills on my main house to see how much power I use to take the leap into paying about $10,000 to go full solar. My friend did it in Australia three years ago and now pays almost no electricity bill.
That is the issue.  By 2020, a watt of solar is supposed to cost Bt30. Today it is around Bt33. As prices fall and power goes up, where do you start investing? Technology and manufacturing capacity drive price. Capacity is easy to judge, but technological breakthroughs lack certainty. Just keep watching the price per watt.
Also, 24 volts is fine for running LED lights. You can also find washer-dryers, coffeemakers, fans, air-conditioners and televisions that run off of 24V, making solar more interesting.  These items do cost more than the 220V counterparts. 
When Thailand drops import taxes on all solar, wind and other tech needed to make renewable systems viable here, and passes policies to reduce risks for bearers adopting renewables, there maybe a bright future for solar.
Maybe see what Australia is doing to promote solar on a local scale and how it encourages small producers to supply the need during peak draw times. Thailand historically just subsidises their few rich friends with huge and quickly outdated “model” solar farms. Maybe the article’s author could write a follow-up on how the Thai government is actively achieving its goals to “decentralise electricity generation and attract new investors in this sector”. I would like to read about it, as I fail to see it here. 

Published : May 02, 2017