Government mulls cutting rooftop solar prices to ease grid overload

By Dat Nguyen   March 12, 2021 | 12:00 am PT
Government mulls cutting rooftop solar prices to ease grid overload
Workers install rooftop solar panels in District 6, Ho Chi Minh City. Photo by VnExpress/Nam Duong.
The Ministry of Industry and Trade is considering cutting the prices paid for rooftop solar by 30 percent to slow down its development amid concerns of grid overload.

It plans to cut the feed-in tariffs from 8.38 U.S. cents per kilowatt-hour to 5.2-5.8 cents, with lower prices for commercial projects and higher prices for households.

The ministry will also limit the power they can sell to the government to ease the pressure on the transmission lines.

It recently set up a task group for a sweeping inspection of solar power projects nationwide since it suspects some investors took advantage of the incentives offered between July 2019 and the end of 2020.

The sector began booming in mid-2019 as the deadline for the government’s incentive feed-in tariff approached, causing developers to speed up their projects, mostly in the central and southern regions.

Solar capacity surged to 19,400 MWp by the end of last year, or 25 percent of the country’s total power capacity, according to state-owned utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN). This capacity came from over 100 farms and 101,000 rooftop installations, it said.

This boom placed enormous strain on the country’s 500-kilovolt north-south transmission line, the backbone of the national grid.

Authorities cut solar power by a total of 365 million kilowatt-hours last year and plan to increase it to 1.3 billion kilowatt-hours this year.

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