Categories: RE

by Peter


Categories: RE

by Peter


Viet Nam has installed 6 coal plants’ worth of solar in a year

Panels are seen at a solar power farm of Trung Nam group in Ninh Thuan province, Vietnam September 3, 2020. Picture taken September 3, 2020. Trung Nam Group/Handout via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVES. - RC21HJ90EVBI
In just one year, Viet Nam has achieved a 25-fold increase in its solar capacity.
  • Global energy demand slipped last year to the lowest level since World War II.
  • As fossil fuels declined, renewables have surged forward.
  • Coal-dependent Viet Nam has pulled off a 25-fold increase in its solar capacity in just one year.
  • Incentives for homes and businesses to install rooftop solar panels led to the boom.

One of the few bright spots in COVID-19 pandemic has been a leap in the amount of electricity being generated from renewable sources.

2020 saw the biggest fall in energy demand since World War Two, according to the International Energy Agency (IEA). That’s a drop seven times larger than that caused by the global financial crisis of 2008/9.

At the same time, the share of energy generated from renewables leapt 7% last year. “It’s mostly driven by solar energy,” said Dr Fatih Birol, IEA Executive Director. “Renewables appear to be immune from COVID.”

One place that illustrates this trend is Viet Nam, which offered generous incentives to households and businesses to install rooftop solar last year. By the time the scheme ended, 9.3 gigawatts of extra generating capacity had been added – equivalent to six coal-fired plants.

The country, which has previously been heavily dependent on coal for electricity generation, now has more than 101,000 rooftop installations on homes, offices and factories, creating a 25-fold increase in its solar generating capacity in just one year.

a graph showing Vietnam's rooftop solar capacity

Solar capacity shot through the roof in December 2020.
Image: IEEFA

Cash for spare power

A key feature of the incentive scheme was a generous feed-in tariff for solar users to sell surplus power to the national electricity grid at a price guaranteed for 20 years. Viet Nam favoured rooftop solar because it does not use scarce land or require new transmission lines.

Among the sites for a new installation was the rooftop of the Da Nang offices of Viet Nam’s Central Power Corporation (EVNCPC), the state-owned electricity company. The solar panels generate an average of over 100 kilowatt hours per day to power the offices.

a group of business people walk across a roof filled with solar panels installed

Staff at Viet Nam’s state electricity company inspect the new solar plant on the roof of their HQ.
Image: EVN Solar

The scheme is not the country’s first big spend on renewables. Back in 2019, it made a major investment by installing 4.5 gigawatts of conventional ground-based solar power. With the latest burst of new rooftop installations, the country now generates a quarter of its electricity from solar.

Solar has also received a boost from changes to the law on public/private partnerships in Viet Nam which mean that investments in coal-fired stations no longer automatically attract a government guarantee.

“Changes to Vietnam’s power market structure and emerging competition from alternative and renewable technologies are also facilitating a shift in focus away from conventional coal power investments,” says Thu Vu, Energy Analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA).

What's the World Economic Forum doing about the transition to clean energy?

Rising demand

Viet Nam is the second-largest electricity consumer in Southeast Asia, according to the IEA. The region has one of the fastest-growing levels of energy demand in the world, driven by increasing prosperity leading to greater use of air conditioners and household appliances.

Over the past 20 years, demand has grown at a steady 6% per year and the IEA says the four largest consumers – Indonesia, Viet Nam, Thailand and Malaysia – account for more than 80% of total regional demand.

Viet Nam was ranked number 65th out of 115 countries in the World Economic Forum’s 2020 Energy Transition Index, behind Namibia and ahead of Ghana. Although it slipped from 56th place the year before, the ranking was based on data collected before the country’s rooftop solar surge.

The Index benchmarks countries on the performance of their energy system and their readiness for transition to clean energy. It is designed to help countries accelerate their transition by analysing their current energy system and highlighting areas for improvement.


Subscribe to our free newsletter.

Business Report 1 July 2012. Optimal Energy chief executive Kobus Meiring is a disappointed man. The company is the developer of South Africa’s electric car but it officially closed on Friday with the loss of about 60 jobs. This follows its failure to get further funding from the government and the Industrial Development Corporation (IDC)...

Related Posts

  • By Dan MurtaughIn some ways solar is having too much success in China.Installing panels has become so popular that Chinese officials drafted By Dan Murtaugh Solar outshines wind to lead China’s clean-energy transition In some ways solar is having too much success in China. Installing panels has become so popular that Chinese officials drafted regulations […]

  • By Todd WoodyElectrify Your LifeWith the first-ever US climate bill approaching passage in Congress, it’s time to reconsider the calculus fo By Todd Woody Electrify Your Life With the first-ever US climate bill approaching passage in Congress, it’s time to reconsider the calculus for when American households think about going solar. If the bill is passed into law, that transition will instantly […]

  • By Ethan van Diemen 26 Jul 2022 original article here President Cyril Ramaphosa on Monday night announced what he called an ‘energy action plan’ to tackle South Africa’s power crisis. This is what the plan entails. On Monday night, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a set of actions to respond to South Africa’s yearslong energy crisis. “The […]

  • Ramaphosa doubles next renewables round, scraps 100 MW cap on distributed plant and moots feed-in tariff as he unveils load-shedding crisis response President Cyril Ramaphosa 25TH JULY 2022 BY: TERENCE CREAMER CREAMER MEDIA EDITOR ARTICLE ENQUIRY      SAVE THIS ARTICLE      EMAIL THIS ARTICLE FONT SIZE: –+ President Cyril Ramaphosa unveiled several far-reaching interventions – including a doubling in the allocation for the next renewables […]