From less than 150 MW solar power capacity in mid-April 2019, Vietnam saw grid connection boost to a total of 82 solar power plants with a cumulative capacity of 4,464 MW. Before the year ends 630 MW more is likely to come online. Pictured is the 50 MW GELEX Ninh Thuan Solar Farm connected to the grid before June 30, 2019 with German inverter maker SMA Solar's system solutions. (Photo Credit: SMA Solar Technology AG)
- A total of 82 solar power plants with more than 4.46 GW capacity have been grid connected in Vietnam before the expiry of existing FIT on June 30, 2019
- A large number of plants were connected post April 2019 when the total installed capacity was less than 150 MW
- Before the year 2019 comes to an end, 13 more solar power plants representing total capacity of 630 MW are likely to become operational which will take total grid connected plants to the system to 95, according to the EVN
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Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has announced grid connecting 82 solar power plants representing a total capacity of about 4,464 MW till June 30, 2019, which shows immense interest the government Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg garnered from the solar community ever since it was launched in 2017 (see Vietnam Introduces Solar Incentives). These generators are now eligible to get a $0.0935 per kWh feed-in-tariff (FIT).
Though huge, the number of plants is a little below EVN’s earlier anticipations. It had been expecting 88 solar power plants to be energized by June 30, 2019 (see Japanese Firm Commissions 40 MW Vietnamese Solar Plant).
The strong rush was triggered by the attractive FIT rates to end by June 30, 2019. Only a little earlier, in mid-April 2019, Vietnam’s entire electricity system had only 4 solar power plants with a total capacity of less than 150 MW, said Head of EVN’s Electricity Market Manager (A0) Nguyen Quoc Trung.
Out of the 82 projects online, 72 representing 4,189 MW fall under the control of the National Regulatory level (A0), while 10 plants are under the control of domain moderation levels with a total capacity of 275 MW, according to EVN.
A few companies recently announced their successful grid connections. Risen Energy of China reported completion of the 50 MW NHI HA Solar Power Station for Bitexco Group subsidiary Thap Cham Solar in Ninh Thuan province as the EPC service provider. The project was completed before the FIT deadline. It had won the project rights in October 2018 (see Risen Energy Bags Another PV Project In Vietnam).
Another big project connected to the grid within this timeline is the 50 MW GELEX Ninh Thuan Solar Farm for which SMA Solar Technology has supplied 7 of its medium voltage power stations helping the German company exceed supply of over 500 MW of inverters for the Vietnamese PV market.
However, by the end of 2019, A0 will continue to operate and put into operation 13 more solar power plants with a total capacity of 630 MW which will take the total grid connected plants to the system to 95.
The milestone of 82 solar power plants commissioned hasn’t been without its share of troubles. As most of these projects are concentrated in the provinces of Ninh Thuan, Binh Thuan and Dak Lak that has caused overloads for 110 kV and 220 kV networks in these regions mostly because of solar power’s variable nature.
To keep up the momentum in the solar PV market, the government is expected to extend the FIT scheme for solar power plants till June 30, 2021 with tariff levels in the range of $0.0659 to $0.0985 per kWh (see Vietnam FIT May Get Extension).
As the country races towards meeting its 12 GW target of cumulative PV capacity by 2030 (which seem way too conservative when looking at the current momentum), event organiser Solarplaza calls it one of the 3 fastest growing solar PV markets in Southeast Asia (see Multiple GW Future Solar Markets In Asia).