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Solar-powered Thailand and the future of renewable energy in SE Asia


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6 hours ago, dageurreotype said:

! wanted to install solar when I built this house 12 years ago. The cost of just one panel was 72k and I was told it still wouldn't be enough to warm a cup of tea. Egat and all that :coffee1:

sounds like you were quoted on a stand alone system with a battery bank. batteries are expensive and to run a house it would be many thousands of dollars just for batteries.  grid tied is a better option but i am not sure how it works in thailand. wonder if the OP can tell us more about how it works for him.

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You can start really small. I have a 3w system that provides emergency lighting (up to 8 hours, 1 bulb) and recharges my mobile phone or any other very small device.

Was really useful after a storm 2 years ago as it provided lighting for 3 evenings. 550 baht.

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  • 5 weeks later...
On 3/29/2017 at 10:47 AM, Ceruhe said:

Not sure what to exactly think of solar panels as a whole, especially just the flat ones. Unless they are rotating to follow the sun, lots of money wasted in terms of investment:return. I ought to update my research list and look into solar again just to be on a more up to date situation again.

First a mention of wind power:  I love the concept, but it's impractical in Thailand.  Not enough steady wind - or at least not in any region that I'm aware of. 

 

The article paints a rosier picture (about solar in Thailand) than I've seen.  Also, Thailand has very few (if any?) solar power experts - who are skilled enough to set up a low-cost system that actually works.  I endeavored to sell solar panels for Thai-based people and support equip online.  I got many inquiries.  About 10 to 1, farang to Thai.   However, everyone wanted technical advise and aid in setting it up.  I wanted to just sell components, so I would recommend they search around their region for an expert to assist them.  NO ONE COULD FIND EXPERT ASSISTANCE in setting up solar, in Thailand.

 

Thai universities don't help at all.  They've got a millions of students studying things like economics and hotel management, but about zero students studying solar and alternative energy.  I would offer my services/knowledge (to set up a college course somewhere), but I'm a farang (without a college degree), so I wouldn't even be considered for such a role.

 

P.S. I'm not a full-fledged expert, but have set-up and used solar since early 1980's.  I had a stand-alone house in California which used Arco panels, which ran everything:  pumps, fridge, hi-fi.    One rule of thumb:  When setting up PV solar, don't use if for things which require heat (cooking, hot water).

 

I actually prefer PASSIVE SOLAR.   it's the best means - for heating water.    I use passive solar for half a dozen different water heating systems here in northern Thailand.  I also built a parabola using 6 sq.M of recycled aluminium sheets from a print shop.  I use it to toast bread and to heat corn tortillas into chips.

 

On 3/29/2017 at 11:35 AM, kannot said:

Whats the environmental cost of manufacturing solar panels? Why do you need hot water in Thailand?

Isnt their output too small for most things, storing electric in batteries, whats the environmental cost of producing the batteries etc........curious here not critical

There should be all sorts of detailed info available to the public re; solar, ....both PV (photovoltaic) and passive.   

 

If the powers-that-be in government knew 1/100th as much about solar as they do about various whitening creams, Thailand would be well on its way to improvements in that regard.

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7 minutes ago, boomerangutang said:

If the powers-that-be in government knew 1/100th as much about solar as they do about various whitening creams, Thailand would be well on its way to improvements in that regard.

That's an easy one, the best whiteningcream has the best looking actors in the commercials and costs the most.

 

 

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3 hours ago, boomerangutang said:

The article paints a rosier picture (about solar in Thailand) than I've seen.  Also, Thailand has very few (if any?) solar power experts - who are skilled enough to set up a low-cost system that actually works.

I haven't (re)read the article, but the rosier painting may not be "too far" off though. I doubt the fewest of us would contest Thailand to be far superior than, say, England in terms of solar power viability, yet it would be the exact opposite for wind power.

The sun is shining just about daily without much impediment throughout the year, even during rainy season. It's not even all that cloudy for all I notice. Buuuuuuut, the latter part of your sentence is the biggest hurdle for just about everything here, quality work, "experts" of any sort of anything. Mind you that you may be able to find someone eventually with some luck and then some, but then you are probably stuck with translation problems, so the next mistake would surely arise right there.

Considering the massive amounts of energy the sun delivers us every second, you'd think a country like Thailand would have capitalized and perfected (sack of salt) something like solar already.

 

But then again, if you want to have a laugh on a company in the US, look up solar freaking roadways!

 

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                         Yes, Thailand has a lot of sun, but that's mitigated by haze/smoke/smog for at least several months each year.  However, it seems the smoke problem, most notable in March/April, is lessening in recent years.  I suspect Thai gov't seriousness about illegal burning is having an effect.  I've been reprimanded a few times.  I have 15 rai and like to do brush clearing with ensuing burn piles.  I like to burn mostly in February, but more than once, local guys have come to my property and advised it's illegal.  I comply, albeit a bit grudgingly.  With less burning, my properties get overwhelmed with greenery.  I love plants as much as the next guy, but the robust way weeds and vines grow in parts of Thailand, is phenomenal.  If I didn't cut back weeds and vines, the foliage would literally average about 3 meters high all over (every sq.ft.), and all but the tallest trees would be vine-choked and/or die from vines blocking out the sun. 

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mabey we should start with the basics''don't use plastic bags,or foam bowls'',and learn to throw your trash in the bin not the ocean,elemate those filthy,smoke belching tour buses ..

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On 5/1/2017 at 9:19 PM, mok199 said:

mabey we should start with the basics''don't use plastic bags,or foam bowls'',and learn to throw your trash in the bin not the ocean,elemate those filthy,smoke belching tour buses ..

You're right.  Environmentalism is as much about re-cycling and being responsible with garbage, as any other issue.  Thailand is behind the 8-ball.  There's no alacrity by Thai powers-that-be to educate and guide fellow Thais toward being environmental.   Environmentalism is, in the Thai perspective, far down the list of priorities.  I could make a list of what's far more important to Thais, but might be treading on thin ice in regard to what's allowed on this forum.

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I know a few people who live out of town and rely on solar power due to no or limited government supply. It works for them although running air conditioners is very energy intensive so they usually do not do that. Setting up a proper system is expensive, and payback will take years. As for government incentives, the last one about one or 2 years ago, allocated a massive 100 KW to small suppliers in the whole of NE Thailand if i remember. And to get connected you had to pay a 'connection and safety fee' of about 80,000 baht, even if you set it up yourself. If you used a company to install it, costs were 250,000 baht plus for a system that you could buy for half of that.

 

The government is only interested in COMMERCIAL exploitation of solar power, not trying to help home owners.

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I read so often here that Solar will not work because of the heat and so on, then told a friend who owns a solar/biomas company who fitted a mega system out in the Middle East. He laughed his things (down below) off and said one day they will wake up. So Have you? or are many country's in the world just stupid?

 

Many must be confused with the solar pussy, but we are taking electric here.

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On 01/05/2017 at 1:52 PM, boomerangutang said:

                         Yes, Thailand has a lot of sun, but that's mitigated by haze/smoke/smog for at least several months each year.  However, it seems the smoke problem, most notable in March/April, is lessening in recent years.  I suspect Thai gov't seriousness about illegal burning is having an effect.  I've been reprimanded a few times.  I have 15 rai and like to do brush clearing with ensuing burn piles.  I like to burn mostly in February, but more than once, local guys have come to my property and advised it's illegal.  I comply, albeit a bit grudgingly.  With less burning, my properties get overwhelmed with greenery.  I love plants as much as the next guy, but the robust way weeds and vines grow in parts of Thailand, is phenomenal.  If I didn't cut back weeds and vines, the foliage would literally average about 3 meters high all over (every sq.ft.), and all but the tallest trees would be vine-choked and/or die from vines blocking out the sun. 

Thats a bit strange UK farmers do not burn they work to clear what the do not want and recycle a lot of it. burning only takes the goodness out of the land, that's why they change the crops in each field every year so not to damage the soil and they get payback for it. Mind you we do not have to put up with the heat that sends you to sleep at 11.00am until 6 pm. lucky us then.

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