Green goals can be achieved with collective focus

September 22, 2023 | 11:35
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The Asian Development Bank and GreenYellow Smart Solutions Vietnam last week inked a $13.8 million loan agreement for rooftop photovoltaic solar systems. Sébastien Prioux, CEO of GreenYellow Vietnam and Cambodia, talked to VIR’s Nguyen Thu about the company’s goals in the Vietnamese market and what it expects from upcoming policy.

What does the deal mean to your company and customers?

Green goals can be achieved with collective focus
Sébastien Prioux, CEO of GreenYellow Vietnam and Cambodia

This transaction represents a significant milestone for GreenYellow and our partners. With more than 180MWp of solar projects in operation and construction, we are focusing on offering very competitive solar electricity to our clients thanks to our ability to finance our projects through aggressive conditions.

This deal with the Asian Development Bank and other pool of lenders is an innovative competitive project financing mechanism combining both offshore loans and grants which also covers the lack of long-term VND funding at a fixed interest rate, and potential volatility of the VND-USD exchange rate. In the end, this will benefit to all our clients and partners.

Vietnam aims for 50 per cent rooftop solar adoption in offices and residential buildings by 2030. How can the nation realise the target?

Vietnam has a very ambitious strategy under the Power Development Plan VIII (PDP8) for renewable energy generation, and this rooftop solar segment is the most dynamic one currently, for both private and public buildings.

One of the most difficult challenges to reach these targets will be to have a clear and stable licensing and permitting process in terms of fire fighting, construction permits, and environmental studies, among others.

Today, many projects are facing difficulties with their permitting applications due to different requirements, which is a bottleneck requiring improvement.

The government has recently announced measures to hasten the licensing applications and standardise the process within the provinces, and we must all collectively speed up to be able to achieve our goals.

Vietnam is considering the efficiency of buying solar power directly from production units through a direct power purchase agreement (DPPA). What does this mean for driving Vietnam’s energy transition forward?

This DPPA pilot programme is a strong demand for the entire industry, as it’s a way to achieve fully green supply for private offtakers.

All neighbouring countries have an equivalent programme, and Vietnam needs to finalise its own initiative to deploy the first phase rapidly. Many large offtakers wish to switch their energy supply to a fully green one, produced in Vietnam. The DPPA mechanism is a key part of Vietnam’s energy transition towards net-zero by 2050.

We officially opened our first legal entity in 2020, and we are truly grateful for the opportunities we have had in the years since. We’re now operating more than 100 projects in solar with 150MWp of operating capacity and more than 30MWp in construction. In addition, we have more than 60 private and public clients and are now enlarging into energy efficiency projects and battery energy storage, which is a perfect combination to support all our clients towards their energy transition plans.

Likewise, we’re running this platform with a team of 80+ highly talented members, mixing local and international backgrounds. GreenYellow is still evolving, and we see our future with very ambitious investment plans in energy efficiency and battery energy storage, as well as large-scale investments for DPPA.

How would you compare the Vietnamese energy market with regional peers, in which GreenYellow has established a footprint?

We see Vietnam being probably the most dynamic one for renewables in the Southeast Asia region. It combines a gigantic market depth and strong domestic economic growth with an increasing energy demand. With the recent publication of the PDP8, rules are being clarified and will soon see a rise of renewable energy projects in every segment.

However, we still have to address challenges: grid infrastructure development plans need to follow these new power generation capacities, and regulation still needs to be clearer in some segments to attract more investors, for example in ancillary services for battery energy storage systems.

GreenYellow Vietnam is a success story within our group. With the fastest growth in the last four years, it has become one of the largest contributors to our group financial performance across 16 countries, and is always proactive with a pioneering and innovative mindset for new investments.

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