• Vietnam’s large-scale solar power project development pipeline has reached 20 GW, according to Rystad Energy
  • Largest share lies in Dak lak province with 4.5 GW capacity, followed by 3.3 GW in Ninh Thuan
  • Government could extend the deadline of incentives announced in April 2017 beyond June 2019, but there is no official word as of yet
  • Consultancy Rystad Energy believes grid connection and commissioning for a lot of projects in the 20 GW pipeline might need to be extended beyond June 2019 deadline

Vietnam’s large scale PV project pipeline has reached 20 GW, but there’s a big question market if all this can be realized in time. The country’s attractive incentive scheme expires in June 2019. Independent energy consulting and intelligence firm Rystad Energy says grid connection and commissioning for many of these projects might take place after the deadline, even if they are able to achieve project completion. On top, lack of skilled manpower or technical expertise makes it difficult to install this big capacity in such a short period of time.

In April 2017, Vietnam’s government issued directives fixing a 20-year solar power offtake tariff at VND 2.086 ($0.09) per kWh for large scale solar power plants commissioned by June 2019. All this power will be bought by local utility Vietnam Electricity Corporation and its authorized members (see Vietnam Introduces Solar Incentives).

Post the announcement, there has been a surge in large scale project development announcements in the Asian country by both local as well as international developers. One very large project announced in response was the 420 MW Dau Tieng solar power plant in Tay Ninh that’s slated to become the ‘largest solar power project in Southeast Asia’ according to its developers, Xuan Cau Co Ltd of Vietnam and B.Grimm Power of Thailand (see Jinko Modules For 420 MW Vietnam Project).

The Dak Lak province of Vietnam holds the largest capacity share of the 20 GW pipeline with 4.5 GW, thanks to the proposed 2 GW Xuan Thien solar park. To be developed by local investment house Xuan Thien Company, the project is yet to start construction despite official approval received in 2017.

Next to Dak Lak is Ninh Thuan province with a pipeline of 40 projects and 3.3 GW.

In its September 2018 newsletter, Rystad Energy says its expects the deadline to be extended beyond June 2019 though there is no official word as of yet. At the same time, the government is apparently keen to fast track projects. It does however say that the Vietnam Power Development Plan targeting 850 MW of PV capacity by 2020 and 12 GW by 2030 is more realistic (see Vietnam Approves $3.3 Billion For Solar Projects).

Yet, the rise of solar in Vietnam is symbolic of what Rystad Energy terms as ‘larger revolution of Vietnam’s energy mix’. Around 55% of the country’s installed capacity is powered by fossil fuels, 38% from hydropower and the remaining balance from other renewables. Environmental concerns, limited coal reserves and increasing demand for power is pushing the country to think of sustainable sources of energy to limit or avoid anticipated power outages in the short-medium term.