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Last updated: Thursday, December 13, 2018


Golden Opportunities for Solar Energy Investment in Vietnam

Posted: Friday, December 08, 2017

According to statistics of the Ministry of Science and Technology, Vietnam now has more than 700 hydropower projects but a third of them are not actually effectively operational due to design errors, backward technologies or water shortage for continued development to recover investment capital. With new preference policies issued by the Government to encourage investors to engage in this field, golden opportunities have been opened.

Vibrant solar energy market
According to the Energy Programme of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), solar energy is drawing the interest of domestic and foreign investors because this is defined as a main source of energy to develop renewable energies. Renewable energies, including solar energy, have much developed in the world but they are still new to Vietnam. As of the end of 2017, hundreds of solar energy investment projects had been registered in Vietnam with a combined capacity of 17,000 MW.

Typical foreign-invested projects include a 2,000-MW solar energy project of Thien Tan Group in Ninh Thuan province and Quang Ngai province and a 30 MW plant of DooSung Vina Co., Ltd (South Korea) in Binh Thuan province.

Capable groups of Vietnam have also quickly grasped this opportunity with very ambitious solar energy projects like 20 solar energy projects worth US$1 billion in Vietnam invested by Thanh Thanh Cong Group, a 2,000-MW investment project invested by Xuan Cau Group, and a solar energy project with a combined capacity of 3,000 MW in Dak Lak province invested by TH True-Milk and Xuan Thien Company.

The Ministry of Industry and Trade said the electricity demand in Vietnam grows 9.8 per cent in 2016 - 2020 and 8.6 per cent in 2021 - 2025. Therefore, this investment field is still full of opportunities.

To encourage investment in renewable energy and solar power, the Government introduced many mechanisms and policies to entice investors and businesses into this field, including Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg on incentives for solar energy development projects in Vietnam, effective from September 2017.

Adding force with solutions and technology
On November 21 and 22, the Ministry of Science and Technology and some international partners organised the Workshop on "Technological and financial solutions to solar energy development in Vietnam" to assist solar energy businesses and investors in Vietnam to approach new technologies with ease and high efficiency. After the workshop, 10 direct contacts between solar energy developers in Vietnam and Top 10 international solar energy technology investors and EPC contractors on cooperation and investment opportunities in 10 projects.

Mr Pham Duc Nghiem, Deputy Director of Science and Technology Market and Business Department (Ministry of Science and Technology), said, new solar energy technology will be developed with solar energy projects using solar panels installed on the surface of reservoirs of hydropower plants which cannot generate electricity during dry seasons on lack of water. This is a more popular solution in countries such as Japan, the United States and Australia because of low but effective investment costs, he added.

An investment cost for a MW of hydropower is US$2.5 million, but solar power investment costs just half that. Especially, if both are combined, the investment cost is just US$700,000 per MW.

Not only solving national energy security, environment was also a content of concern of experts attending the workshop. Nghiem said the Ministry of Science and Technology invited international consultants with new environment-friendly solar energy technologies like silicon and nano carbon filmed on energy and battery panels, free from pollution and recyclable.” Old technologies require a 1.8-hectare area for an MW of electricity but new ones need just one hectare because of more photovoltaic cells on each square meter, which increases the absorptive capacity and reduces construction area.

With new technology advantages and incentive policies, the solar power market is actually opening up a golden opportunity for investors.

Nguyen Thanh

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