The res­i­dence of the Nor­we­gian am­bas­sador is shin­ing re­new­able lights in Bangkok.

Norway-Asia Business Review - - Contents - ANRIKE VISSER

The res­i­dence is one of the few for­eign gov­ern­men­tal build­ings in Bangkok. Nev­er­the­less, Am­bas­sador Mr Kjetil Paulsen stays hum­ble: “Nor­way also pro­duces non-re­new­able en­ergy, but we do try to make an ef­fort and are shift­ing slowly, in a re­spon­si­ble fash­ion, to re­new­able en­ergy.

The so­lar pan­els on the roof match the goal of the Nor­we­gian ad­min­is­tra­tion and the 2015 Paris cli­mate deal to re­duce the car­bon foot­print.”

In­stalling 972 kilo­grams of so­lar pan­els onto the roof of a build­ing dating back to 1956 was not easy, but luck­ily the orig­i­nal struc­ture of­fered enough pos­si­bil­i­ties to host the 54 so­lar pan­els that pro­duce a third of the en­ergy used by the build­ing. “In the fu­ture we would like to feed ex­cess en­ergy back into the ex­ist­ing power line. At the mo­ment this is not pos­si­ble due to reg­u­la­tions, but if this changes it could boost so­lar power tremen­dously in Thai­land. Thai peo­ple are very will­ing to adopt new tech­nol­ogy, so if they would be able to make money so­lar en­ergy could take off.”

The so­lar pan­els were or­dered at En­er­link Asia So­lar, the dis­trib­u­tor of Nor­we­gian firm Re­new­able En­ergy Com­pany ( REC) that pro­duced the so­lar pan­els. They were then shipped to Thai­land to be im­ple­mented by En­er­link Asia So­lar. “Even though we save 12 to 15% an­nu­ally on en­ergy bills, this was not the main reason for in­stalling the so­lar pan­els. We wanted to do our bit to re­duce the wide­spread waste of elec­tric­ity in Thai­land, and also changed all the air­con­di­tion­ing in the house to the high­est stan­dard and this re­duced our en­ergy con­sump­tion by 30%.”

There is a sense of ur­gency to spread re­new­able en­ergy glob­ally, and in Asia specif­i­cally. “Cli­mate change is rear­ing its ugly head again here in Asia. There have been extreme weather con­di­tions and floods in the re­gion that il­lus­trate the need for re­new­able en­ergy. It’s not an easy mar­ket with a lot of in­ter­na­tional com­pe­ti­tion and it can be dif­fi­cult to get sil­i­con from the Chi­nese to pro­duce the so­lar pan­els, but there are op­por­tu­ni­ties for ex­am­ple in tech­nol­ogy.”

“Chang­ing en­vi­ron­men­tal con­di­tions re­quire con­stant devel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy. For hy­dro power for ex­am­ple you need wa­ter, but the wa­ter lev­els are chang­ing con­stantly or wa­ter has gone un­der­ground. Nor­we­gian com­pa­nies are world lead­ing in de­vel­op­ing tech­nol­ogy for re­new­able en­ergy. Last week we dis­cussed the pos­si­bil­i­ties of build­ing small hy­dro plants for when the large plant can not be used like in the rainy sea­son. This is also bet­ter for the rice fields sur­round­ing the plants, and it cre­ates ad­di­tional jobs.”

“And there is a very pub­lic de­bate in Thai­land about re­new­able en­ergy. Thai­land wants to be seen as a mod­ern coun­try, which cre­ates op­por­tu­ni­ties as well,” the am­bas­sador con­cludes while the sun sets on the res­i­dency and its so­lar pan­els. Above: Res­i­dence of the Nor­we­gian am­bas­sador to Thai­land with so­lar pan­els in­stalled on the roof. Right: Close ups of the in­stal­la­tion.

PHOTO: THAI-NOR­WE­GIAN CHAM­BER OF COM­MERCE

The res­i­dence of the Nor­we­gian am­bas­sador to Thai­land is a role model in many re­spects. It is one of the first over­seas Nor­we­gian gov­ern­men­tal build­ing with so­lar pan­els.

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