SPCG, Kyocera invest B1bn in panel plant
SPCG Plc, Asean's largest solar-farm developer and operator, is teaming up with Japan's Kyocera Corporation, the leading electrical parts producer, to develop a solar-panel production plant in Thailand worth 1 billion baht.
Wandee Khunchornyakong, SPCG's chairwoman and chief executive, said the move is aimed at tapping rising demand in Asean as well as pushing production to the regional level.
Kyocera holds a 90% stake in the new venture, called Solar Power Roof Co, and the rest is held by SPCG.
The new production facility will be located in Nakhon Ratchasima with annual capacity of 1,000 kilowatts per year.
"Asean has high potential to be a major market for renewable energy, particularly Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam," said Ms Wandee.
The two firms have been strategic partners in developing solar farms in Thailand since 2008 and are now taking another step forward in the solar-rooftop-panel sector.
Since the end of July, SPCG and Kyocera have a total of 36 solar farms located across 10 provinces in the Northeast generating a combined 260 MW.
All solar farms have been running at full capacity since the middle of the year after obtaining licences from the Energy Ministry in 2009.
Total investment was worth 24 billion baht. The farms are currently connected to the utility grid in the Northeast.
In a related development, SPCG yesterday signed a three-year distribution agreement with Home Product Center Plc, one of Thailand's largest retailers of building materials.
Three sizes of solar panels of 2.75-4.5 kilowatts are available at HomePro's 66 outlets nationwide.
With a 25-year lifetime, the company claims the panels could help homeowners save 900,000-1.2 million baht on energy bills.
SPCG has said sales of solar panels in the retail sector could generate revenue of 500 million baht this year from an estimated total revenue of 3.5 billion baht, up 75% from revenue of 2 billion baht last year.
In terms of volume, the company has targeted sales of 1,000-3,000 sets over the next two years, according to an internal survey last year.
SPCG is also in talks with SET-listed property developer SC Asset Plc to supply solar panels for new residential projects.
"Because electricity bills over the next few years are expected to rise significantly along with environmental concerns, this deal provides a good opportunity for the new channel of solar panels," said Ms Wandee.
In the meantime, SPCG is expected to be a partner with PEA Encom Co, a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Provincial Electricity Authority.
The new venture will invest in solar farms and the rooftop-panel business in Myanmar and Malaysia.
Ms Wandee said SPCG has a strong financial capability for overseas investment because it issued debentures worth 4 billion baht in June and has another 2 billion baht from its 10% stake sold through private investment.
Shares of SPCG closed yesterday on the SET at 26 baht, up one baht, in trade worth 145 million baht.