Solar Rooftops Help Meet Energy Targets

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Vietnam has very favorable conditions to develop solar energy across the country, but it needs an economical, technically feasible net-metering scheme to promote solar PV rooftops in the country, experts said yesterday.

Net-metering is a system in which solar panels or other renewable energy generators are connected to a public-utility power grid and surplus power is transferred onto the grid, allowing customers to offset the cost of power drawn from the utility.

It also allows consumers who generate some or all of their own electricity to use that electricity anytime, instead of when it is generated.

Foreign and Vietnamese experts met on Friday at a workshop held in Hanoi to discuss the development of a net-metering policy for solar energy in Vietnam.

Experts on policy-making, regulations, business and international development, including those from the European Energy Initiative Partnership Dialogue Facility (EUEI PDF), the Electricity Regulatory Authority (ERAV) and the Electricity of Việt Nam attended the workshop.

The first stakeholder workshop was held by the EUEI PDF in collaboration with the ERAV.

The EUEI PDF is providing technical assistance to the ERAV to boost the promotion of solar PV rooftops, or a photovoltaic system that has its electricity-generating solar panels mounted on the rooftop of a residential or commercial building or structure.

As part of the Government strategy to boost the development of renewable energy in Vietnam, which was approved in 2015 by the then Prime Prime Minister Nguyễn Tấn Dũng, and following the introduction of an electricity tariff for the solar energy in April this year, the ERAV under the authorisation of the Ministry of Industry and Trade was completing the regulatory framework necessary for the country to fully deploy its solar power potential, including a net-metering policy, said Dr Đinh Thế Phúc, ERAV Deputy Director-General.

He said that with support from the EUEI PDF, and experts sharing their experiences, the EARV would achieve the target of setting up a feasible net-metering scheme that is economical and technically sound.

Head of Cooperation and Development of the EU Delegation, Alejandro Montalban, said Vietnam has an ambitious target to capitalise on its solar potential and had shown the political will to achieve it.

“With the support and international insights provided by the EUEI PDF, we will soon contribute to this process,” he said.

Montalban said the workshop was the first step in setting up a participatory process involving all stakeholders in the new initiative.

As part of a week of in-depth consultations, an international team of consultants will pay field visits and meet with key stakeholders, including utility and power companies, developers and investors, and international donors.

The consultations will aim to ensure that the net-metering policy meets the needs of the national energy sector from a regulatory and technical point of view.

The policy will help ensure that Việt Nam meets its goal to generate 12 GW of solar by 2030, according to a EUEI PDF report.

The EUEI PDF will work to help the EARV develop in detail the net-metering scheme, drafting the decision and identifying existing legislation and policies that need to be brought in line, the report says.

“A thorough validation of the technical capacities and the potential impacts of solar energy on the Vietnamese electricity grid will also be conducted to ensure its stability and the technical feasibility of an uptake of the solar,” said a EUEI PDF representative.

Finally, he said, the EUEI PDF would also provide training in the new net-metering scheme to policy makers, developers and other key actors to help ensure the successful rollout of the scheme.

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