Tuesday, 21 Nov 2017

Create pricing mechanism to develop solar power

Updated at Wednesday, 23 Aug 2017, 08:33
The Hanoitimes - Currently, the majority of solar power projects in Vietnam are of small scale, not only because investors have not paid attention to this renewable energy, but also because policies related to the development of solar power are not stable.
Many international experts expressed their concerns at the workshop on emerging trends in solar power development in Vietnam organized by the Vietnam Sustainable Energy Alliance (VSEA) on August 21. 

High potential

According to the Vietnam Clean Energy Association (VCEA), Vietnam is one of the nations with the most sunlight in the world’s solar radiation charts. In Tay Nguyen Province and South Central Coast, the number of sunny hours ranges from 2,000 to 2,600 hours per year. The average solar radiation is 150 kcal/m2, which is about 2,000 to 5,000 hours per year. However, despite the great potential, the exploitation of this energy source in Vietnam is not significant. 

The majority of solar power projects are of small scale. For example, the first solar power project with grid connection belonged to the An Hoi Power Plant (Con Dao, Ba Ria – Vung Tau). The project was initiated and completed in 2014. However, despite the connection to Con Dao electric power grid, the capacity only reaches 36 kWp and the electricity is over 50 MWh. Only one solar power project with grid connection in Quang Ngai is of relatively large scale, but the project is also in the finishing phase. 

Mr. Rainer Brohm of Renewable Energy Consulting (Germany) affirmed that missing this opportunity is truly regretting for domestic investors, since the potential of solar power development in Vietnam is great. If more construction is conducted in Vietnam, the solar panels will have good impacts on the current climate situation.

Results remain modest

In fact, along with developing policies for renewable energy development, expert said, there should be mechanism on pricing to attract investors. At the same time, the solar energy market in Vietnam has very high potential.

Price of solar energy equipment is cheaper (5 years ago, a battery cost 3-4 USD/Wp, but now only around 0.5 USD/Wp). As such, besides the requirements for human resources, the government should release a comprehensive technical specification on solar energy, such as criteria for battery, transducer or the frame, so that customers can buy products with the right quality. 

In particular, it is necessary to issue price ceiling for solar energy and mechanism to connect with the national grid. On the other hand, a technical specification is made to ensure the quality of the equipment, as well as conducting test to restrict products with low quality being sold in the market. This is necessary step to promote the efficiency of solar energy to citizens.

Consultant of the Vietnam clean energy program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) – Do Duc Tuong said, the investment in Vietnam solar energy’s market remains modest. With this being said, investors are concern over Decision No.11 on the price of solar energy, which is priced at 0.35 cent for the period of 3 years. Tuong raised the question: How is the price going after 3 years? At the same time, investors want to have a long term and stable price policy for solar energy, which in turn encourage more enterprises participate in this sector. 
Ngoc Thuy - Khac Kien
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