Thai relaxes rooftop solar regulation to meet soaring demand


Rooftop solar panels at Megabangna shopping center in Bangkok. (Photo: Megabangna)

The Thai Ministry of Industry is currently amending the Factory Act, and starting as early as this year, rooftop solar installations with a capacity exceeding 1MW will no longer require obtaining a factory license. This represents a relaxation of restrictions on rooftop photovoltaic systems, allowing organizations with higher electricity consumption to utilize such installations.

Under the current regulations, which only with factory license are allowed to use rooftop photovoltaic systems with larger capacities. However, with the rapid advancement of battery technology, the number of solar panels required to generate the same amount of electricity has significantly decreased by 2.7 times compared to 2014. Moreover, these systems are now safer and more environmentally friendly. In response to continuous demands from both public and private sectors, the Ministry of Industry has finally initiated the process of amending the regulations.

Nattapol Rangsitpol, Permanent Secretary of the Thai Ministry of Industry, stated that due to the rapid increase in energy prices, there has been a significant surge in demand for solar power across various industries. With the decreasing installation costs of solar panels, many businesses are expressing their interest in deploying rooftop solar power systems in facilities such as factories, shopping malls, hotels, and universities.

The Thai Ministry of Industry has instructed the Department of Industrial Works (DIW) to amend relevant regulations, with expectations for the changes to be effective as early as this year. Minister of Industry Pimpattra Wichaikul stated that the legislative amendments align with international trends, aiming to attract foreign investments, enhance Thailand's competitiveness in achieving "zero carbon emissions," and promote sustainable development in the industrial economy.

The Ministry of Industry believes that the legislative amendments will contribute to reducing the installation costs of rooftop solar power systems. Additionally, it is expected to result in an annual carbon reduction of 500 metric tons per megawatt, equivalent to planting 62,500 trees. This aligns with the continuous efforts towards achieving the net-zero target by 2065.

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