In recent years, global renewables developer BayWa re has been turning its attention to the Asia Pacific, expanding into Southeast Asia. Junrhey Castro, the company’s director of solar distribution in Southeast Asia, sat down with pv magazine Australia to discuss its experiences in the emerging markets of the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, and Vietnam.
In an unexpected move, the government of Thailand has introduced a feed-in-tariff (FIT) of $0.090 (THB 2.1679)/kWh over 25 years for solar and a 25-year FIT of THB $0.075 (THB 2.8331)/kWh for solar plus storage.
While near neighbours, the electricity generation of the countries of Southeast Asia couldn’t be further apart. Indonesia burns locally mined coal, Malaysia has reserves of oil and gas, while populous Singapore, Vietnam, and the Philippines, depend on fossil fuel imports. They could all benefit from increased solar imports, but higher grid capacities and interconnection are key for an opportunity to unlock the power of the sun.
Indonesia will have to get to work installing more than 24 GW of solar this year – and every year – if the region is to achieve the 2.1 TW to 2.4 TW of photovoltaics the International Renewable Energy Agency has estimated it will require to achieve a net zero carbon energy system by 2050.
Singapore’s Energy Market Authority has already attracted proposals for 1.2 GW of renewable electricity, to be generated in four southeast Asian nations, and wants to raise that figure to 4 GW by 2035.
After a decade of under-delivering on its potential, there are changes afoot in Southeast Asia’s renewable energy development, says Assaad W. Razzouk, the CEO of Singapore-based developer Gurin Energy. Razzouk points to success stories in the region and notes that political will and clear regulations for developers are needed.
One of Southeast Asia’s biggest generators of renewable electricity, Thailand’s CK Power, is set to double in size over the next three years after announcing plans to add 2.8GW of new renewable electricity generation, including a ten-fold increase in its solar capacity.
Recent research from Thailand has shown that solar-plus-storage on floating platforms could be the cheapest option to power energy-intensive aeration systems in aquaculture projects. The battery accounts for around 54% of the capital costs, which is why system sizing would be key for economic viability.
Corporate power purchase agreements are the second most adopted purchasing method in the world, and they’re growing fast. With the U.S. and Europe picking up the pace in the last year, the Asia Pacific is not going to be left behind, with Wood Mackenzie estimating corporate PPAs in the region doubled in the last year.
PV markets in Southeast Asia have picked up over the past two years, driven by the astounding growth of Vietnam. Regional policies, combined with growing demand for renewable power in the manufacturing industry, will result in 27 GW of new PV installations across the region over the next five years, writes IHS Markit analyst Dharmendra Kumar. PV installations in these countries are driven by attractive feed-in tariffs, net energy metering, tariff-based auction mechanisms, and other incentives.
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