Tag: green energy

19
Jun

Thai Solar Pioneer, Inspiring Women Across Thailand

Inspiring story about a local Thai business woman and entrepreneur

Well known local Thai business woman and entrepreneur, Wandee Khunchornyakong Juljarern, has been interested in the solar industry for more than a decade. With experience in off grid installations, she continued to get rejected from banks and investors to fund her Solar Farm initiative. The excuses ranged from her age, to lack of experience in ‘commercial solar projects’.

“The more people say, ‘You should not try it, you should not take a risk,’ the more I want to do it,” Wandee said in an interview. Her goal was to prove Thailand could use solar energy, so that “we can change the form of energy production, instead of relying on only conventional means”.

Finally the Thai government announced permits for solar power plants that could feed into the grid,  and Wandee Khunchornyakong Juljarern was the first in line.

Kasikornbank, the 10th Bank she visited for assistance, whose president was also an engineer, showed interest in her initiative, and agreed to fund only 60% of her $20 million request. For the remaining 40%, she sold some of her family land she had inherited…

“My mum said, ‘Do what pleases you.’ My husband said, ‘Let me think for three days’,” she recalled. Her response was that she would sell it anyway, she said, roaring with laughter.

Wandee Khunchornyakong Juljarern’s first solar farm opened in April 2010 in Korat, in the northeast of Thailand.

4 years later, Wandee’s Solar Power Company Group (SPCG) had 36 solar PV plants with a capacity of 250 megawatts.

SPCG is now one of Thailand’s largest solar companies. Between 2013 and 2016, its revenues more than doubled.

As chairman and CEO of the listed company, Wandee has been recognized by the United Nations for her commitment to clean energy, and in 2015 Forbes dubbed her one of Asia’s most powerful women.

“We are helping the world by reducing CO2 (emissions) by almost 200,000 tonnes equivalent per year,” said Wandee. This amounts to taking more than 40,000 cars off the road, according to statistics provided by the World Bank.

Solar Farms and Solar rooftops, Thailand Image supplied by SPCG Thailand

Solar Farms and Solar rooftops, Thailand
Image supplied by SPCG Thailand

Moving the Solar streak forward

Wandee is planning to venture into Myanmar, where millions of people lack access to electricity, but realises the difficulty of implementation in a nation without national policy on renewable energy.

Talking of the Success in Thailand…

“I would call Korat almost every hour asking, ‘What’s happening? You have enough sun? How many kilowatt hours?’” she said, chuckling in the modern building now housing the company in a fashionable part of Bangkok, with soothing green walls and images of a lush forest on the glass doors and walls.

Luckily, the project outperformed expectations and within three months, she was looking for more investors.

The International Finance Corporation, the World Bank’s private-sector division, and the multilateral Clean Technology Fund gave early financial backing.

Wandee, who humbly still lives in her old house, wants to continue working and pursuing her Solar dreams, despite her age.

“Women… have to have confidence in (themselves),” she said.

Original reporting by Thin Lei Win, and editing by Megan Rowling. Credit for the content of this article goes to the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, that covers humanitarian news, women’s rights, corruption and climate change. Visit this link for more.

30
Apr

TSE and the future of Renewable Power Plants

Are Renewable Energy Plants still viable in todays age?

Thai Solar Energy Plc (TSE), believes that “the potential for renewable power plants in Thailand has become unfavourable after energy policymakers have put off plans to buy power generated from renewables for five years.”

Policymakers have further announced that new renewable power producers will equate the feed-in tariff as fossil-fuel power producers, at about 2.40 baht per kilowatt-hour, as their production cost is equal to or lower than their traditional counterparts.

Cathleen Maleenont, TSE’s chairman and chief executive has said that, “The country has no potential to operate a renewable power plant and sell electricity to state utilities because profits will decline under the new rate.”

Some renewable investors operate under a power purchase agreement with the EGAT and Metropolitan Electricity Authority under a business-to-government (B2G) model.  But Ms Maleenont said that “Selling power in the business-to-business (B2B) segment remains of interest to renewable investors because both parties can negotiate on prices and terms.”

“We can invest in renewable power plants in the country for B2B purposes, but there is less business opportunity in the B2G segment,” she said. “For our overseas outlook, TSE is very keen on operating renewable power plants because other governments still offer a high adder rate.”

A TSE-built solar rooftop project in Nakhon Ratchasima. The company is looking to expand its business to provide renewable energy to other countries.  Image supplied by the Bangkok Post

A TSE-built solar rooftop project in Nakhon Ratchasima. The company is looking to expand its business to provide renewable energy to other countries.
Image supplied by the Bangkok Post

TSE Solar plants in Japan

Ms Maleenont said that TSE Overseas Group is in charge of 8 solar power plants across Japan with a total capacity of 176.72 megawatts.

5 of these solar power plants, with a combined capacity of 6.99MW, have already secured income with a feed-in tariff of ¥36 yen (10.41 baht) per kilowatt-hour to sell electricity to Japan’s state utilities on a 20-year long contract.

What do you think about this, and the fact that TSE have said that there has been a decline in renewables? Do we want to set good examples of using renewable and green energy, or do we still want to be consuming and using fossil fuels?

We believe in the future of renewable and solar energy power generation.

Lets us know at Eyekandi-Solar, we’re interested in what you think!