Vietnam’s Rooftop Solar Sector: Tools, Templates, and Lessons Learned for Corporate Renewable Energy Buyers

Webinar #2 Key Takeaways and Summary

On May 14, the Renewable Energy Buyers Vietnam Working Group hosted its second webinar in a series of four occurring throughout May 2020.

Co-organized by the Clean Energy Investment Accelerator (CEIA) and the USAID Vietnam Low Emission Energy Program (V-LEEP), the Working Group brings together corporate energy users, renewable energy project developers, investors, government representatives and supporting stakeholders seeking to increase corporate clean energy use and investment in Vietnam.

The webinar, focused on information and tools about rooftop solar procurement for corporate energy users in Vietnam, was held at a timely moment. The country has seen more than 550 megawatts (MW) of new rooftop solar capacity installed in the last 16 months, with industry insiders and government officials projecting that up to 1 gigawatt (GW) of rooftop solar could be operating in Vietnam by the end of 2020. 

In April, the Prime Minister approved Decision 13, the new national solar regulation. Notably, rooftop solar projects can utilize a feed-in-tariff of 8.38 USc/kWh and private power purchase agreement (PPAs) are now legally feasible between solar project developers and rooftop solar customers.

 

The continued growth of rooftop solar, combined with the Direct Power Purchase Agreement (DPPA) Pilot Program to enable offsite virtual renewable energy transactions, deepens Vietnam’s position as one of the most attractive markets for corporate renewable energy procurement in Southeast Asia.

Key insights from Webinar #2 included:

  • Vietnam’s rooftop solar sector expects continued rapid growth: The Prime Minister’s approval of Decision 13 is an important driver of the rooftop solar market’s continued upward trajectory in Vietnam. The feed-in-tariff (FIT) of 8.38 USc/kWh, paired with solar’s cost-competitiveness against grid-based electricity and the legal ability to engage in private PPA contracts, mean that commercial and industrial (C&I) energy users continue to have attractive rooftop solar procurement choices. 
  • Some uncertainty remains after 2020: The 8.38 USc/kWh FIT for rooftop solar will expire at end-2020, leaving question marks for investors and customers planning C&I solar projects that will reach commercial operation after December 31st. Industry experts expect that some level of FIT will remain into 2021, given the mechanism’s importance to rooftop solar customers seeking to use the net billing scheme. If the FIT incentive for rooftop solar is reduced or eliminated after 2020, C&I solar projects in Vietnam would need to be designed and sized primarily for “self-consumption” purposes.
  • Upfront analysis, external advice and organized competitive procurement are vital ingredients for C&I energy users to consider when seeking rooftop solar solutions: As highlighted by speakers from Deep C Industrial Zones, Adidas, and CEIA, companies seeking rooftop solar solutions will benefit from an organized, methodical approach to procurement including:
    • Collect and analyze technical and economic data associated with your facility and location to understand the business case and feasibility of different rooftop solar procurement choices (i.e. self-purchase vs. private PPA).
    • Actively seek input and advice from external sources if your company doesn’t have the in-house resources and knowledge. Attend events. Meet with similar companies with rooftop solar procurement experience. Consider using technical consultants.
    • Conduct an organized competitive procurement with clear guidelines, timelines and preferences. Use a bid assessment framework with qualitative and quantitative elements to analyze and understand the “pros and cons” of different rooftop solar vendors, contract structures and pricing offers. 

Free tools, templates and information sources are available to market stakeholders: The Clean Energy Investment Accelerator, USAID V-LEEP and other supporting organizations have developed an array of tools for corporate energy users and other market stakeholders including:

  • Rooftop Solar Procurement Toolkit including RFP templates for OPEX and CAPEX procurements, proposal evaluation guidelines, scoring matrixes and spreadsheets. These free tools developed by CEIA are currently available for download here and will also be part of the Vietnam Corporate Renewable Energy Procurement Guidebook, set to be published on the Resources page of CEIA’s website later in 2020.
  • The Rooftop Solar Vietnam Portal created by USAID and other organizations in partnership with the Government of Vietnam offers market information, statistics and other tools for download.

The CEIA and USAID V-LEEP teams are pleased to continue working alongside industry stakeholders to jointly increase and improve the pathways for corporate clean energy use in Vietnam. We look forward to supporting Vietnam’s rooftop solar market toward 1GW and beyond. 

For additional information, please contact the CEIA Vietnam team via Evan Scandling (ers@allotropepartners.com) or Hang Dao (hangdao@cleanenergyinvest.org). as well as USAID V-LEEP via
Duc Hai Nguyen (duc.nguyenhai@rcee.org.vn) 

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