Suntech Selected for Phase Two of 44MW Solar Power Plant in Thailand

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd., the world’s largest producer of solar photovoltaic panels, will supply 9.43 MW of solar panels and technical support for the second phase of a 44 MW solar power plant (38 MW AC output) in Thailand.

Owned by Bangchak Petroleum Public Co., Ltd., and integrated by Solartron Public Co., Ltd., the landmark solar power plant will be one of the largest in Thailand and Southeast Asia.

The 9.43 MW contract comes after Suntech was chosen to provide 34.5 MW of solar panels and technical support for the project’s first phase, announced in August 2010.

"This is another strong step forward with Bangchak and Solartron, as we work together to drive the emerging solar industry in Thailand and Southeast Asia," said Andrew Beebe, Suntech’s Chief Commercial Officer. "With steady economic growth, burgeoning electricity demands, and plenty of excellent sunlight, countries throughout the region stand to benefit both economically and environmentally by harnessing nature’s most abundant energy resource."

With groundwork construction underway, the complete 44 MW capacity solar power plant remains on schedule to be grid-connected by late-2011. The facility will then generate decades of renewable energy for the booming metropolis and surrounding areas, which will be purchased and distributed by the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) and the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) under long-term power purchase agreements. Altogether, the project will create more than 200 local jobs in Thailand for the facility’s development, installation and maintenance.

"This historic solar project represents the beginning of our fifteen billion Bhat initiative to develop around 140 MW of installed solar capacity in Thailand," said Dr. Anusorn Sangnimnuan, President of the Bangchak Petroleum Public Co., Ltd. "We are excited about working with Suntech to achieve long-term energy security and to combat climate change, as we strive to become a carbon-neutral company."

On October 12th, Bangchak signed a 15-year loan agreement with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) for up to B4.2 billion (US$140 million), part of ADB’s Asia Solar Energy Initiative to support projects that will help Asia realize its solar power potential. The strategic initiative aims to provide US$2.25 billion in financial support to facilitate 3,000 megawatts of solar power capacity in ADB’s developing member countries by mid-2013.

"This project makes it clear that large-scale solar power plants are viable in Thailand and in other countries in Asia," said Daniel Wiedmer, Investment Specialist with ADB’s Private Sector Operations Department. "Solar energy will help to power Thailand’s economic expansion and meet growing industrial and residential demand for power in a way that will generate fewer greenhouse gas emissions than if the country were to rely on fossil fuels alone."

Located in Bang Pa-In, Ayutthaya, forty kilometers outside Bangkok, the solar project represents a major milestone in Thailand’s ambitious goal to meet 20% of its total energy consumption with renewable sources by 2022. Thailand is one of Southeast Asia’s largest energy consumers, and EGAT projects the country’s energy demand to grow by an average 4.22% annually between 2008 and 2020. According to the Thailand Energy Policy and Planning Office (EPPO), Thailand imported 54% of its primary energy consumption in 2009, down from 68% in 2004, as the country seeks to achieve greater energy security through the utilization of local, renewable energy resources.

Bangchak estimates that the 44MW capacity solar power plant could annually reduce the need to import about 40,000 tons of coal and mitigate 32,000 tons of CO2 emissions, similar to planting 3,000,000 trees or removing 9,000 cars from the roads. Upon completion, the clean and quiet solar facility will be open to the community, as an on-site visitor center – featuring an elegant Suntech building-integrated photovoltaic (BIPV) installation – will invite local schools, residents, and tourists to learn about solar technology.

About Solartron Public Co., Ltd.

Solartron Public Company Limited was founded in 1986. Solartron has been providing Thailand and neighboring countries with alternative clean energy sources of photovoltaic energy for more than 24 years. At present, Solartron offers turnkey service including design, engineering, installation, commissioning, monitoring, maintenance and after-sale services. Solartron has so far provided more than 250,000 solar application systems in the Southeast Asia region. Solartron is now constructing an upstream solar cell factory with a capacity of 30MW per year, in order to support the rapid growth of demand for solar power in Thailand and in the global market.

Bangchak Petroleum Public Company Limited is a Thai oil company, running the business of refining crude oil from the Middle East, the Far East as well as from domestic sources. The company also sells its finished oil products through a network of over 1,100 service stations. In addition, Bangchak has extended its direct sales channel to large and medium-scale oil consumers, including industrial plants, airlines, automobile companies, ocean liners, and construction businesses, etc. Bangchak is firmly committed to the growth of renewable energy technologies, especially solar power, which contributes to Thailand’s energy security and supports the government’s policy to promote renewable energy.

ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2009, it approved a total of $16.1 billion in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation program, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. ADB also mobilized cofinancing amounting to $3.2 billion.

Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. /quotes/comstock/13*!stp/quotes/nls/stp (STP 9.49, +0.25, +2.71%) produces industry-leading solar products for residential, commercial, industrial, and utility applications. With regional headquarters in China, Switzerland, and the United States, and gigawatt-scale manufacturing worldwide, Suntech has delivered more than 12,000,000 photovoltaic panels to thousands of customers in more than eighty countries. Suntech’s pioneering R&D creates customer-centric innovations that are driving solar to grid parity against fossil fuels. Suntech’s mission is to provide everyone with reliable access to nature’s cleanest and most abundant energy source.