Solar self-users seeking parity

July 17, 2022 | 10:00
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A chasm between mechanisms and inconstant guidelines in localities is making it difficult for developers to install rooftop solar power for self-use.
Solar self-users seeking parity
Solar self-users seeking parity

The Department of Natural Resources and Environment of Vung Tau city in the south at the end of June sent an official letter asking the provincial authorities for guidance on environmental procedures for rooftop solar power projects. Specifically, it asked if investors had to carry out procedures for these documents, and if so, how to go about it.

The move came after a warning was issued from Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) to require investors to provide relevant documents, including environmental records. If not, the state-run group will stop paying electricity bills for the output generated for projects.

Recently, 28 rooftop solar power investors in the southern province of Binh Duong submitted a petition to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) as well as the provincial People’s Committee, asking to remove difficulties with related projects because they have not been paid for electricity since March 31.

According to the investors, they have been funding rooftop solar power systems since 2020, and have made great efforts to complete schemes on schedule, despite the harsh restrictions and material shortages during that time. Currently, the systems are operating in a stable manner and generating clean electricity for the country.

However, Binh Duong Power Company announced the suspension of payments to investors because the rooftop solar power system has not added missing documents, including construction safety records and fire prevention records.

Dao Du Duong, head of the representative office of the Vietnam Clean Energy Association in Ho Chi Minh City, said, “If businesses invest in rooftop solar power projects by themselves, the ability to recover capital is very difficult.”

He explained that due to specific legal mechanisms and regulations, EVN is temporarily not implementing the agreement to connect these self-using rooftop solar power systems and waiting for instructions from the MoIT.

“The benefits of solar power are quite clear. However, in the implementation process, there are many obstacles, such as the regulations on installation conditions for solar power being still unclear, and lack of consistency. On top of that, there are no clear instructions on issues such as fire protection,” added Duong.

Meanwhile, in other provinces such as Binh Thuan, Duong noted that various rooftop solar projects do not always have to go through the same environmental procedures.

EVN and its members have received recommendations from a number of both local and foreign investors requesting to connect the rooftop solar power system for self-consumption on the spot, without generating electricity on the grid.

According to the state-run utility, the proposed systems will be installed under the management of the investor, not under the management of power companies. Therefore, if it is not approved, it may cause a negative reaction, Duong said.

Over 2,000 leaders have registered for Vietnam’s largest solar and renewable energy extravaganza, to take place this week.

The Future Energy Show Vietnam and the Solar Show Vietnam return to Ho Chi Minh City on July 13-14. The event marks the first time that the country’s energy leaders have been able to gather at scale since 2019.

With over 2,000 solar and renewables experts signed up to attend, excitement is building to explore the latest innovative energy solutions, make new connections with industry leaders, and strategise for Vietnam’s energy future.

“It’s such a thrill to be back in Ho Chi Minh City once again,” said Paul Clark, managing director in Asia for event organiser Terrapinn. “We’re absolutely delighted to have such strong support from our clients – over 100 exhibitors will be showcasing their solutions and we’ve got over 60 speakers sharing their insights too.”

The event is also free to attend. “We are serious about supporting Vietnam’s energy transition and our attendees are too,” Clark added.

The Future Energy Show Vietnam will convene more than 100 exhibitors across two floors, offering attendees the chance to evaluate solutions from leading energy players such as Longi, Solis, Sungrow, Growatt, Hopewind, Huawei, Canadian Solar, Jayu, and more.

In addition to walking the exhibition floor and browsing the hundreds of products on offer, the show will also feature two free-to-attend tracks of content exploring Vietnam’s energy future.

Confirmed senior speakers include Minh Hoang, CFO of Qair Vietnam; Miguel A. Ferrer, managing director of Shire Oak International; Thomas Jakobsen, managing director of Indochina Energy Partners; and Do Le Ninh, senior investment officer at the Asian Development Bank.

By Phuong Thu

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