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Thailand Prepares to Install Floating Solar Plants at Eight Dams

Siam Cement Group hopes to win the first contract to install a 45-megawatt floating solar farm at Thailand’s Sirindhorn Dam

3 min read
Photo: SCG Chemicals
Solar Float: This 1-megawatt installation in a Thai reservoir owned by SCG Chemicals was the company’s first floating solar farm.
Photo: SCG Chemicals

Solar farms take up land, which is especially precious in areas with dense populations—and those areas need renewable power most. To solve this paradox, populous countries short on land have started to turn to solar farms that float on reservoirs and dams. Of the world’s 1.1 gigawatts of floating solar capacity, 450 megawatts exists in China, Japan, India, and South Korea.

Thailand now wants in, and an unlikely player is vying to get a big share of that market. Thailand’s Siam Cement Group (SCG), one of Southeast Asia’s largest building-material companies, has developed floating solar modules that it will build, install, and maintain. As the only large Thai company making floating panels, it hopes to land contracts to build at least some of the 1 GW of floating solar capacity that state-run Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) plans to install across eight dams over the next two decades.

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This photograph shows a car with the words “We Drive Solar” on the door, connected to a charging station. A windmill can be seen in the background.

The Dutch city of Utrecht is embracing vehicle-to-grid technology, an example of which is shown here—an EV connected to a bidirectional charger. The historic Rijn en Zon windmill provides a fitting background for this scene.

We Drive Solar

Hundreds of charging stations for electric vehicles dot Utrecht’s urban landscape in the Netherlands like little electric mushrooms. Unlike those you may have grown accustomed to seeing, many of these stations don’t just charge electric cars—they can also send power from vehicle batteries to the local utility grid for use by homes and businesses.

Debates over the feasibility and value of such vehicle-to-grid technology go back decades. Those arguments are not yet settled. But big automakers like Volkswagen, Nissan, and Hyundai have moved to produce the kinds of cars that can use such bidirectional chargers—alongside similar vehicle-to-home technology, whereby your car can power your house, say, during a blackout, as promoted by Ford with its new F-150 Lightning. Given the rapid uptake of electric vehicles, many people are thinking hard about how to make the best use of all that rolling battery power.

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