Author Topic: Nakhon Ratchasima - World Bank's IFC supports solar power project  (Read 1062 times)


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World Bank's IFC supports solar power project

The International Finance Corporation (IFC), the investment arm of the World Bank, is joining local institutions in putting up a Bt1billion fund to promote solarpower generation in Thailand, with the first project slated for Nakhon Ratchasima (also called Korat).

The project will be granted the existing adder rate of Bt8 per unit as being one of 18 pilot projects worth Bt1 billion supported by the government, said Energy Minister Wannarat Charnnukul.

He said the National Energy Policy Council meeting next week would consider revising down the adder rate for purchasing solar power from Bt8 per unit. The adder rate for other kinds of power - generated from wind, hydro and rubbish - would remain at Bt8.

The IFC is investing US$1.7 million (Bt55 million) for a 20percent stake in Solar Power (Korat 1), the largest solarpower plant in Southeast Asia, to expand private power generation while helping develop rural Thailand.

Solar Power (Korat 1) owns and operates a 6megawatt gridtied solar power plant in Korat, an area with one of the best solar resources in Thailand. The project supports the government's goal of generating at least 20 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2022, which will improve the supply of clean energy, help move Thailand toward lowcarbon growth, and reduce the country's reliance on imported energy. The solar farm will displace an estimated 4,785 tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually, boosting global climate change mitigation efforts.

SPC Korat 1 is majority owned by Solar Power (SPC), a Thai developer of large, gridconnected, solar photovoltaic projects. The developer has secured 34 licences to build and operate gridconnected solar farms across Thailand. SPC Korat 1 was created to develop the first of these licenses and its 6megawatt solar power plant went into operation in April.

"We are very happy to have IFC as a partner in this first project to provide a cleaner and more sustainable energy source for our country," Wandee Khunchornyakong, managing director of Solar Power (SPC), said in a statement. "We are considering other renewable energy investments and we look forward to working with the IFC on these projects in the future."

IFC's investment in this first project represents the start of a partnership with SPC with plans to coinvest in some future solar projects as well as in SPC itself. If fully exercised, IFC's investment rights in SPC and its related companies could amount to as much as $20 million. SPC Korat 1 also has received a minority equity investment from the Energy for Environment Foundation and debt financing from Kasikorn Bank.

Anita George, IFC director for infrastructure, said "IFC's support to renewable energy generation in Thailand, specifically solar, will encourage similar investments in the region. And also we look forward to working with SPC, a Thai sponsor whose management has decades of experience in the solar industry, to help them replicate their success with this project on future sites."

Since 2005, IFC has invested more than $1 billion in renewable energy projects. IFC's strategy in Thailand focuses on enhancing the competitiveness of the private sector; providing opportunities for populations outside the main urban economies, particularly in the northeast and southern provinces; and supporting environmentally and socially sustainable growth.

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