Cost–Benefit Analysis of Rooftop PV Systems on Utilities and Ratepayers in Thailand
Driven by falling photovoltaic (PV) installation costs and potential support policies, rooftop PV is expected to expand rapidly in Thailand. As a result, the relevant stakeholders, especially utilities, have concerns about the net economic impacts of high PV adoption. Using a cost–benefit analysis, this study quantifies the net economic impacts of rooftop PV systems on three utilities and on ratepayers in Thailand by applying nine different PV adoption scenarios with various buyback rates and annual percentages of PV cost reduction. Under Thailand’s current electricity tariff structure, Thai utilities are well-protected and able to pass all costs due to PV onto the ratepayers in terms of changes in retail rates. We find that when PV adoption is low, the net economic impacts on both the utilities and retail rates are small and the impacts on each utility depend on its specific characteristics. On the other hand, when PV adoption ranges from 9–14% in energy basis, five-year retail rate impacts become noticeable and are between 6% and 11% as compared to the projected retail rates in 2036 depending on the PV adoption level. Thus, it is necessary for Thailand to make tradeoffs among the stakeholders and maximize the benefits of rooftop PV adoption.