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Thai regulator sees $1 billion investment in solar farms

BANGKOK - Thailand's energy regulator said on Monday it expected an investment of at least 36 billion baht ($1.01 billion) next year in the government's solar farmproject, which attracted strong interest from private producers and state agencies.

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Two employees of SPCG, Thailand's largest solar farm producer, walk between panels at the farm in Korat, Nakorn Ratchasima province. REUTERS/Athit Perawongmetha/File.

BANGKOK - Thailand's energy regulator said on Monday it expected an investment of at least 36 billion baht ($1.01 billion) next year in the government's solar farmproject, which attracted strong interest from private producers and state agencies.

About 1,200 applicants are expected to submit proposals to receive licences for the first quota of 600 megawatts (MW) solar farms for government agencies and co-operatives, Viraphol Jirapraditkul, director and spokesman for the Energy Regulatory Commission, told reporters.

The winners of solar farm contracts are required to begin commercial operations within September 2016, and the commission planned to announce names of winners on Dec. 24, Viraphol said.

Companies submitted on Monday included Thai Solar Energy Pcl , which has joined foreces with 10 state agencies and co-operatives to produce 49 MW of solar farms mostly in central region, the regulator said.

Inter Far East Energy Corp also joined with the Thai navy's electricity welfare to produce 11 MW.

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The ERC also plans to announce details of bids for the second quota of 200 MW solar farms for government agencies and co-operatives in the middle of 2016, Viraphol said.

The bidding is part of the government's drive to raise solar power capacity to 6,000 MW by 2036 from 1,570 in 2014.

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