Countries in Southeast Asia have big plans for solar energy. Thailand’s government in particular knows precisely how its future energy and environment policies should look like. It has pledged to both expand the use of renewables and improve energy efficiency across the nation. Until 2021, the government aims at a share of 25 % from renewable sources, while decreasing the total energy consumption by up to 20 % compared to 2005. These are some of the figures presented at the information meeting “Solarthermie in Industrie und Gewerbe in Thailand: Potentiale für deutsche Unternehmen” (translated as “Solar thermal in Thailand’s industry and trade: Potential for German companies”), which the Agency for International Cooperation, GIZ, held in Berlin, Germany, at the beginning of March. The GIZ also supports a business trip, which will take place from 27 to 31 May this year. The trip for German entrepreneurs is organised in cooperation with the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AHK Thailand). The photo shows the installation of a large-scale solar thermal plant in Thailand.
Today, solar systems in Thailand produce around 2 ktoe (kilo tonnes of oil equivalent) of thermal energy per year. The government’s plan is to increase that number to 100 ktoe by 2021. To expand the use of solar energy, the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE) has been granting investment subsidies for commercial solar thermal systems.
"We invite medium-sized companies with less than 250 employees and a turnover below EUR 50 million to join us between 27 and 31 May to get to know the local solar thermal industry,” says Jan Immel, Deputy Executive Director of the AHK Thailand. The most important part of the trip is the presentation meeting in Bangkok on the second day, because it brings together all the people close to the market. The organisers expect 150 participants this year, including stakeholders from business, associations, governmental agencies and the political sphere. The meeting will offer German companies the chance to present their business, products and services to prospective partners and other sector professionals. Experts from both Germany and Thailand will also outline and discuss market conditions and trends in the two countries. At the end of the trip, the participants will pay a visit to companies in the region.
The German Coordination Office of the Renewable Energies Export Initiative, financed by the Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology, BMWi, has been organising business trips to Thailand on a regular basis since 2004. “We help companies to successfully enter markets abroad and create jobs in Germany, as well as in Thailand,” emphasises the office’s Deputy Head Sonja Mokrani. “Surveys which were carried out by external observers to assess the export initiative have confirmed that participating companies save around 30 % of their time and costs when entering the market. The initiative has also helped 40 % of the participants in starting actual business relationships abroad and every participant’s export share has increased by, on average, 23 %."
The Thailand business trip is one of three trips which take German solar thermal professionals beyond Europe’s borders in the first half of 2013. The German Chamber of Industry and Commerce in Brazil is organising another trip for German solar thermal entrepreneurs to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, from 13 to 17 Mai 2013. And, from 3 to 7 June, there is a trip to Central America (Dominican Republic, Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua) – only this time for professionals from all renewable energy sectors.
More information on all three trips:
http://www.exportinitiative.bmwi.de/EEE/Navigation/veranstaltungen.html (in German)
The application documents for the Thailand business trip: http://www.giz.de/Themen/de/37591.htm (in German)
More information on the solar thermal market in Thailand: http://www.giz.de/Themen/de/37279.htm (in German)
The text was written by Oliver Klempert, a Berlin-based freelance journalist who focuses on renewable energies.