A large-scale solar thermal parabolic trough power plant in Asia is nearing completion in Thailand’s western province of Kanchanaburi. The plant, which has a nominal capacity of 5 MW, is due to enter operation by the end of this month.

It is believed to be the world’s first commercial parabolic trough solar power plant using water instead of oil as a heat carrier.

German company Solarite has built the power plant for Thai Solar Energy in Huai Krachao, 350 km north-west of Bangkok.

Thailand has set a target of increasing its solar energy capacity to 550 MW by 2022. It currently has a capacity of just less than 50 MW, but a feed-in tariff of $0.27/kWh over ten years has led to a boom.

According to figures released by the Thai Energy Ministry, plants with a total capacity of 2000 MW have been approved, and applications have been made for a further 1300 MW.

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