MITR PHOL recently kicked off its first rooftop solar-energy project at its Phu Khieo Power Plant.
The Bt56-million facility will generate 1.3 million units of electricity annually, managing director Pravit Prakitsri said recently.
Solar modules with capacity of 989 kilowatts will be installed on top of the molasses warehouse. Their output will be sold to the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA). This will help reduce crude-oil use by 100 tonnes and carbon-dioxide emissions by 700 tonnes per year.
If another round of rooftop solar applications is held in the future, the company would like to replicate this project at its other plants nationwide.
The group operates six biomass power plants in Suphan Buri, Sing Buri, Khon Kaen, Chaiyaphum, Kalasin and Loei with combined annual capacity of 400 megawatts.
Agreements have been made with the Electricity Generating Authority and the PEA to sell them more than 200MW annually.
The company also runs three molasses-fuelled ethanol plants in Suphan Buri, Kalasin and Chaiyaphum.
It has joined with Padaeng Industry and Thai Oil to produce ethanol from raw sugar-cane juice in Tak.
The four ethanol plants can produce more than 380 million litres annually.
This year, the government has encouraged farmers to switch from cultivating rice at unsuitable sites, such as upland areas, to crops that need less water. Sugar-cane plantation areas are expected to increase significantly with anticipated yields of more than 100 million tonnes annually. This will drive growth of related businesses, such as biomass power plants and ethanol plants, Pravit said.
To meet market demand, the company has not only expanded its biomass power and ethanol production at the same sites but also installed machinery that supports advanced, safe and clean technology, he said.