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High costs hinder locals from installing rooftop solar panels
The Saigon Times Daily
Thursday,  Feb 28, 2019,15:15 (GMT+7)

High costs hinder locals from installing rooftop solar panels

The Saigon Times Daily

File photo of a rooftop solar-power project. High installation costs are among the main reasons hindering locals from installing rooftop solar panels – PHOTO: VGP

HCMC - Only 1,800 local households have installed rooftop solar power systems over the past two years, with a total capacity of 30 megawatts. The low figure was attributed to high investment costs, along with cumbersome payment and device requirements, said a Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) representative at a conference held in Hanoi on February 27 to find ways to bolster the development of rooftop solar systems.

Tran Dinh Nhan, general director of EVN, was quoted by Nguoi Lao Dong Online as saying that electricity agencies had yet to sign official contracts to purchase solar power from local households since there were no official guidelines on solar power payment methods. In particular, costs of solar panels, equipment and installation still remain high, which has discouraged the locals from setting up these systems, Nhan said.

In addition, the locals seemed to hesitate to invest in solar electricity generation as they had received incomplete information on the quality of solar panels and on agencies in charge of the installation, operation and maintenance of these panels.

Dao Minh Hien, director of the Research and Development Center at the Power Engineering Consulting JSC 2, confirmed that it requires plenty of capital to invest in solar power systems, which is the main reason why rooftop solar energy projects could not be increased.

To encourage the growth of solar energy, Deputy General Director of EVN Dinh Quang Tri proposed the Government consider financially backing local households to install rooftop solar power systems and adopt preferential policies for investors involved in those power projects.

Also, he proposed the Ministry of Industry and Trade quickly amend Circular No.16 to enable EVN and its subsidiaries to sign official contracts and make solar power payments to customers.

Tri stressed that the country should call for the participation of sponsors, banks, investors and organizations at home and abroad to take part in the local solar energy market and provide solutions and incentives that encourage customers to invest in and use rooftop solar power.

Speaking at the conference, a representative of EVN said that the German Development Bank (KfW), a German government-owned development bank, had agreed to sponsor EVN to develop solar power projects, at some 14 million euros (nearly US$16 million). However, EVN is currently negotiating with KfW and has proposed the Government set aside the money to support local households who wish to install solar panels on the rooftops of their homes.

If the proposal is approved, each household would receive VND2 million to VND6 million, depending on their generation capacity.

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