MNRE Asks Implementing Agencies to Adhere to Grid-Connected Rooftop Solar Guidelines

Soon, small independent solar power producers will have to pay extra charges in Thailand to help minimize the impact of blockchain-enabled competition with the state-owned utility, reported the Nikkei Asian Review.

The new regulations being drafted by the energy regulator will give time for the electricity generating authority of Thailand (EGAT) to adapt to the rapid rise in independent power generation, mostly from households with rooftop solar panels.

Blockchain is a shared digital ledger that records transactions between users and cannot be altered without changing all other entries. Just as it has been used to decentralize finance, blockchain technology has also played an important role in the growth of independent power generation as it has enabled households connected to microgrids to conduct peer-to-peer transactions, buying and selling surplus electricity to each other bypassing EGAT. It works on the same principle as cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin.

Viraphol Jirapraditkul, a member of the ERC, has cited this disruptive effect of the technology on the state utility. He said, “The numbers of household solar rooftop power generators are increasing rapidly. That’s why the need to develop regulation that is fair for everybody.”

The proposed charges will be spent on the maintenance and security of the national power grid.

However, the talk of extra fees has alarmed the rooftop industry, in that it will put an extra burden on the independent energy providers, and the market for rooftop solar power may suffer in the future.

The growth of independent solar power producers is a direct result of government policy, as it has encouraged the development of solar farms with a guarantee to buy the power they generate at above-market prices.

In Thailand, households with rooftop power generating systems accounted for 130 MW. This is expected to rise by 100 MW by the end of this year.

Earlier, Mercom reported that Swytch, another U.S.-based blockchain-driven clean energy company, signed a deal with Chuncheon, the capital of Gangwon Province in South Korea, to reduce carbon emissions in the city.