Ministry not keen on linking rooftop solar with grid

By Phuong Dung   June 10, 2024 | 12:31 am PT
Ministry not keen on linking rooftop solar with grid
Workers install a rooftop solar power system. Photo courtesy of the Vietnam Government Portal
The Ministry of Industry and Trade does not want rooftop solar power added to the grid saying its instability will increase costs.

In its latest draft decree on solar power, it said it "will not buy rooftop solar power in any form" except from projects that have been approved under the National Power Development Plan 8.

It said in a report that rooftop solar is dependent on the weather, while national utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN), which its runs, has to ensure sufficient supply at all times.

During days without sunlight EVN has to run thermal power turbines to ensure adequate supply, which is not ideal because they cost a lot of energy to turn on and even consume power in standby mode, the ministry said.

Rooftop solar also sees sudden drops in output during rain and when cloudy, which affects electrical equipment and even causes hazards, it said.

Investing in infrastructure to buy rooftop solar power is a major expense, it said.

Solar power accounts for 33% of Vietnam’s total energy production and this ratio is too high for a developing country as it could cause high infrastructure maintenance costs, it said.

Developed countries have the resources to invest in advanced equipment to account for output fluctuations, but not Vietnam, it pointed out.

The government therefore does not encourage rooftop solar power development for connecting with the grid, but households can install these systems for their usage, it added.

On the other hand, the National Power Development Plan 8 targets 50% of commercial buildings and houses having solar systems by 2030.

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