Long-delayed solar power plant opens in central Vietnam

By Pham Linh   April 27, 2019 | 05:09 pm PT
Long-delayed solar power plant opens in central Vietnam
The Mo Duc Solar Power Plant has a capacity of 19.2 MW. Photo by VnExpress/Pham Linh
A long-delayed solar power plant inaugurated in the central province of Quang Ngai gives renewable energy production a boost.

The 19.2 MW Mo Duc Solar Power Plant has a total investment of almost VND900 billion ($38.7 million).

It has 53,000 solar panels operated with technology supplied by U.S. company FTC Solar. The panels automatically orient toward the sun to produce more energy.

The plant, whose construction started in August 2015, was the first licensed solar power project in the country.

However, construction was delayed as investor Thien Tan Group faced challenges in land acquisition and had to wait for the government’s approval on solar power prices.

Most of the project was constructed earlier this year and completed in just over three months.

Vietnam is thought to have great potential for renewable energy with 2,700 hours of sunshine a year on average. The government has issued several policies to attract investment into renewables to reduce the country’s dependence on thermal power.

The number of solar power projects in Vietnam has started rising since the government issued a decree in November 2017 to encourage the development of this renewable energy.

Most projects are located in the central region and Central Highlands. The central Ninh Thuan Province tops the country with 29 projects, followed by the central province of Khanh Hoa with 10.

As of September last year, over 120 solar projects had been approved to contribute to the national grid, with a total capacity of 6,100 MW by 2020 and 7,200 MW by 2030, according to the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Another 221 projects with registered capacity of over 13,000 MW are pending approval.

This means the total registered capacity of solar power projects in Vietnam could reach 26,000 MW, accounting for 60 percent of total capacity from all sources, exceeding the government’s initial target to have 850 MW by next year and 4,000 MW in 2025.

The rapid growth of Vietnam’s economy, one of the fastest rates in the region, makes it hungry for power with demand expected to rise by around 8 percent a year over the next decade.

World Bank country director for Vietnam, Ousmane Dione, said the country would need to raise $150 billion by 2030 to develop its energy sector.

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