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Vietnam encourages people to sell excess rooftop solar power
Ngoc Mai 17:04, 2024/06/20
Rooftop solar installations should be economically beneficial to residents while also enhancing national energy security.

Deputy Prime Minister Tran Hong Ha has instructed the Ministry of Industry and Trade to draw up plans to encourage households to install rooftop solar panels with storage systems to sell excess power to Vietnam Electricity (EVN).

 Overview of the meeting. Photo: Minh Khoi/VGP

Speaking at a meeting on the draft decree for a direct power purchase agreement (DPPA) mechanism between renewable energy producers and large consumers on June 19, Ha stressed the need for policies to promote self-produced, self-consumed rooftop solar power.

In the draft proposal for self-produced and self-consumed rooftop solar power, the Ministry of Industry and Trade maintains that this type of solar energy should only be produced for local consumption and should not be sold to other entities or fed into the national grid. Rooftop solar power that is not connected to the national grid is not subject to development restrictions. However, if it is connected, the capacity must not exceed the allocation in the Power Development Plan VIII (2,600 MW).

At the meeting, participants suggested allowing households to sell excess rooftop solar power back to the grid, subject to controls that would prevent policy abuse, particularly in industrial zones.

Concluding the meeting, Ha stressed that rooftop solar installations should be economically beneficial for residents while also enhancing national energy security. He tasked the Ministry of Industry and Trade with exploring financial incentives (taxes, interest rates, installation costs) for those installing rooftop solar systems with storage to sell excess power to EVN at peak rates.

To develop regulations to encourage individuals to install rooftop solar, the Ministry of Industry and Trade is asked to determine the return on the state's investment in new energy sources.

The senior government official suggested that the drafting body must simplify procedures, regulate installations in publicly funded projects, and ensure grid safety for large industrial installations.

 Installing rooftop solar power at Long Bien District, Hanoi. Photo: Bao Han/The Hanoi Times

In particular, the Ministry of Construction should develop standards for clean energy, including storage systems in residential buildings. Currently, the country has over 103,000 rooftop solar projects with a total capacity of over 9,500 MW. According to PDP VIII, this source is expected to add 2,600 MW by 2030 or cover 50% of government and residential buildings.

Previously, the Ministry of Industry and Trade noted that policies were not favorable to trading rooftop solar power due to its weather-dependent instability. Buying excess power would require significant investment in storage and transmission systems, along with maintenance costs.  

Aside from self-produced, self-consumed models, rooftop solar and other renewable energy forms (solar, wind, small hydro, biomass, geothermal, ocean wave, tidal, current) can participate in direct power sales under the DPPA mechanism, which is currently open for feedback. These projects are not limited in capacity but must obtain an electricity operating license or qualify for an exemption.

Wind and solar projects wishing to engage in direct power sales via the national grid must have a capacity of over 10 MW.

The Deputy Prime Minister urged the Ministry of Industry and Trade to clarify the power sector's responsibility in ensuring system safety when providing transmission services for national grid transactions. The Ministry must also monitor and provide accurate data on transmission capacity and regional loads, adjusting renewable energy development plans accordingly. Private transmission lines do not need to be included in the national plan, he noted.

The DPPA should encourage businesses to invest in storage for solar plants to become a reliable power source during peak hours. Regulatory measures are needed to ensure compliance with registration, data updates, connections, and inspections, stressed Ha.

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