Vietnam had already successfully commissioned 1.5 GW of utility-scale PV at the end of May this year, and there is no sign of this slowing down, with another 2 GW teed up for June 2019. The breakneck speed in development is making Vietnam a powerhouse in the region in installed capacity, even nipping at the heels of Australia. Rystad Energy’s Minh Koi Le looks at the state of play in the Vietnamese solar market.
With a glut of solar capacity having come online this year, cheaper financing would help keep some of that momentum but policymakers cannot be persuaded of the economic benefits of clean energy unless state-owned utility EVN opens up.
Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy has placed Australian and Vietnamese solar markets side by side and found the Southeast Asian country has left Australia behind in terms of commissioned utility-scale PV capacity. A staggering 4,460 MW of connected PV capacity in Vietnam at the end of June came as a surprise to many.
A study of the relative costs of generation using coal and PV has focused on Vietnam as a case study as the nation is dependent on costly imports of seaborne coal. Analysts paint a straightforward picture explaining why a planned 32 GW new coal pipeline should be shelved.
While the world’s biggest solar manufacturers are confident there are plenty of alternative markets for a rising volume of panel exports, the message spelled out by first-quarter shipment figures is that protectionism works.
Renewable energy investment in the APAC region, excluding China, will overtake spending on oil and gas exploration and production spending by 2020, finds Norwegian consultancy Rystad Energy. And Australia is set to emerge as one of the leading investment destinations.
With its feed-in tariff set to expire at the end of June, Vietnam is considering different levels of payment, classified across three irradiation regions and involving four solar technologies. Future payments would range from $0.0659-0.0985/kWh, with the cloudy north in line for the highest tariffs and with the government likely to revise tariffs for new projects every two years.
Despite political hurdles in key markets including China, India and Japan, Asia-Pacific remains highly active. This year, 59 GW of solar is expected to be installed and due to further system price declines, a phase-out of subsidy schemes can be offset.
In what marks another major PV project announcement for Vietnam, the Germany-based company will supply equipment for a 258 MW PV system, and commission it upon its completion, scheduled for mid-2019.
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