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Thursday, July 18, 2024

Solar power investment heats up again

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HCMC – The Electricity and Renewable Energy Authority under the Ministry of Industry and Trade has asked the Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) to evaluate solutions to handle the huge output being generated from new solar power projects in the country.

Of this, the unit will give priority to 21 projects recently added to the country’s power development master plan, said a news report on Thanh Nien Online website.

The projects, whose combined capacity is less than 1,000 MW, went through the evaluation to prepare for the pilot competitive price mechanism after December 31.

According to Dr. Ngo Duc Lam, the current problem the projects face is the commitment to deal with expired panels of investors after 20 to 25 years. The local authorities should consider including commitments by investors in their building contracts.

Earlier, data of the Ministry of Industry and Trade showed that 135 solar power projects had been added to the master plan at the end of 2019. As per the most recent statistics, the total designed solar power output has reached some 10,300 MW, in which over 90 projects with a total output of around 5,000 MW have been put into operation.

Meanwhile, the master plan stipulates that the nation’s total capacity for solar power is just 850 MW in 2020 and will be 4,000 MW in 2025 and around 12,000 MW in 2023. However, the supplement output has hit 10,300 MW or 12 times higher than the projected level.

Local authorities have suggested adding a large number of new solar power projects with a combined capacity of 25,000 MW, and 45,000 MW of wind power projects, said the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Some experts have warned of the strong surge in solar power projects as investors are racing to finish their projects before the end of this year. As such, they will be able to secure a high selling price in 20 years.

The number of new solar projects has far outpaced the national grid infrastructure, resulting in poor capacity and huge waste, said Dr. Tran Van Binh, a renewable energy expert.

The Government should redo the master plan, as the actual capacity of solar power projects, not to mention wind power projects, has been much higher than previously estimated. In the near future, once put into operation, they will trigger a heavy overload on the national grid, Binh said.

As per the Government’s Decision 13, the buying price for rooftop solar power is 8.38 U.S. cents per kWh, applied for projects that were put into operation before December 31. The price is applicable in 20 years from the day it begins its commercial run.

Meanwhile, the project in Ninh Thuan Province is subject to a rate of 9.35 U.S. cents. The rate for projects developed after December 31 remains undecided.

Tran Dinh Long, an energy expert, attributed the overload to the surging output from households. As local families now have to pay high electricity bills, installing a solar power system is a wise choice to save money.

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