ADB Approves Loan for 73-MW PV System

The Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) Board of Directors has approved investment in a 73-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in central Thailand.

ADB will lend up to US $70 million to Natural Energy Development Company, Thailand’s first independent power producer, to build the plant. The loan will come from ADB’s ordinary capital resources, and the plant will be located in Lopburi province in central Thailand.

The plant, likely to be one of the largest solar photovoltaic projects in the world, is expected to be central to Thailand’s efforts to generate much more of its energy from domestic, renewable sources.

“Solar energy is an abundant resource throughout Thailand and therefore has huge potential to fill the rising demand from Thai businesses, communities and households,” said Joe Yamagata, Deputy Director General in ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department. “This private sector undertaking should demonstrate clearly to other investors the viability of investing in solar projects if the right financing structure including carbon credits is in place.”

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand, the country’s largest electricity generator and sole distributor, has committed to buy all of the electricity generated from the plant. In addition to the loan, ADB will provide a $2 million grant from its Clean Energy Financing Partnership Facility to cover any contingency costs arising from the use of highly complex, innovative thin-film photovoltaic technology on a large scale.

Currently, around 90% of Thailand’s power comes from natural gas, coal, and lignite. In an effort to diversify the country’s energy mix and promote renewable energy, the government has prepared an Alternative Energy Development Plan that aims to generate 20.4% of primary commercial energy from renewable sources by 2022. This implies a sharp increase in renewable capacity to 5,608 MW from the current 1,750 MW.

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