Samae Solar Power and Wind Farm Generators
Koh Larn is an island located just a forty minute ferry ride from the Bali Hai Pier in Pattaya.
Back in the year 2006 an attempt was made to provide a sustainable energy power system to create electricity for the island which was powered by many diesel generators. The power system chosen was a duel energy source collecting energy from both the wind and the sun.
The energy from the sun was to be collected by an array of solar panels (voltaic cells) located on the roof top of a very large building which will be a marine museum. The roof is shaped like a stingray or butterfly. The building is located at Samae Beach on Koh Larn.
Both systems together were not enough to cater for the island's growing power consumption needs and fuel generators were still needed.
Samae beach is on the west side of Koh Larn so it is a great spot to watch the sunset over the ocean. The beach is approximately 700 meters long.
As you can see in the photo above the beach is very popular with tourists sunning themselves or relaxing in the shade of the beach umbrellas. There are several restaurants along the beach and the food is delicious.
If you have stayed in Pattaya for a while you will find the price of the food on Koh Larn more expensive than what you could buy in Pattaya. Most of the restaurants charge the same price for all meals but at the resort end of Samae Beach is one restaurant that charges less than the others.
When you are standing on the beach at Samae Beach and look back towards the hills you will notice the wind generator farm. This is where in 2006 a total of 45 wind turbines were erected on towers for the purpose of providing enough electricity to supply the island's needs. Each wind generator is rated at around 5 kilowatts.
Since the sustainable energy project opened in 2007 the Pattaya City Council has provided a 2 Megawatt underwater mains power supply cable linking Koh Larn's power needs up to the mainland grid system. The project was completed by the Provincial Electricity Authority (PEA) in 2010 at a cost of 300 million baht. The wind turbines are no longer required.
The PEA project was not without a few problems when an employee of the PEA allegedly torched the cable. It was reported in the local newspapers that he was hired by some fuel companies that supplied fuel for the running of the diesel generators on the island. This act of vandalism happened two times and cost the PEA around 30 million baht plus a month of down time for each event.
There is some accommodation at Samae Beach. If you are going on a day trip then there are public showers and toilets at the beach. A shower will cost you around 50 baht. and toilet is 10 baht. You can also rent a motorbike at Samae Beach but it is cheaper to hire a motorbike at Naban, the main village center.
There is also accommodation at some of the other beaches. However the island seems to always be crowded and it is a good idea to book your accommodation on line. One good place to stay is Baan Rae and you can get up to 75% off when you book on line through this link.
Another place to stay at on the island and will cost you less than accommodation at Samae Beach is this resort that you can book on line. It is right on the water and is within easy access of all the beaches on the island.
To get to Samae Beach from Naban you can take a baht bus. All the prices for various destinations around the island are set and displayed on notice boards at the baht bus pick up points. You could also take a motorbike taxi.
If you want to have more control over your transport you can rent a motorbike at Naban village. It should cost around 200 baht for the day. Then you can be independent and ride whenever you like.
Your Koh Larn motorbike rental will usually start at 8:00 a.m. and finish at 5:00 p.m. but if you are staying on the island you might be able to negotiate a deal for how many days you like and keep the bike overnight.
It seems unfortunate that the sustainable energy system of wind generators and solar panels is not incorporated into the power supply for the island. Perhaps it will become another tourist attraction for the many foreigners who visit Same Beach on Koh Larn.