Big interest in Malaysia's PV FIT

Speaking to pv magazine after the exhibition’s opening keynote session and ceremony, the Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water, Datuk Loo Took Gee, said that Malaysia’s FIT has generated a lot of interest from integrators.

"The roof-mounted kind of photovoltaics [is where] we have received tremendous response," said Loo Took Gee.

The Malaysian FIT rates for photovoltaics, which start at 1.23 ringit (RM) (USD$0.39) per kilowatt-hour (p/kWh) for installations of four kilowatts-peak or less, decreases in stages by installed capacity to 0.85 RM ($0.27) p/kWh for installations greater than 10 megawatts (MW). Installations larger than 30 MW, meanwhile, will not qualify for FITs.

Perhaps driving the large amount of interest in roof-top solar, there are bonuses for rooftop photovoltaic installations and BIPV of 0.26 RM and 0.25 RM respectively ($0.08).

Loo Took Gee was keen to emphasize that in the face of such a high level of interest, the government will have to ensure that the FITs, which come into effect in December, are financially sustainable.

"Solar will play a very important role once the Renewable Energy Act is implemented. In fact my concern really is the huge response […] with respect to solar," she said.

She also committed the Energy Ministry to ensuring the FITs stay in step with photovoltaic module and installation costs. In other countries, such as in Spain or the Czech Republic, a failure to do so has seen a harmful boom and bust cycle in photovoltaics.

Loo Took Gee told pv magazine that her department will ensure that doesn’t happen. "We will review it [FIT levels] because the FIT scheme is not something that is set in stone. We will monitor it."

Under the present legislation, the annual regression rate for photovoltaics under the new Malaysian scheme is eight percent, the highest of all of the renewable generation sources such as hydro, geothermal and wind.

The implementation of the Renewable Energy Act and FITs has been delayed once, but appears set to go ahead on December 1. Currently Malaysia has 61.2 MW of installed renewable capacity with that forecast by the government to increase to four gigawatts (GW) by 2030, of which solar will make up 1.3 GW.

The government has targeted 20 MW of installed photovoltaic capacity by 2012, with that increasing to 65 MW by 2015.

130 keynote speakers, and nearly 200 exhibitors from throughout the region are attending the three-day Renewable Energy World Asia conference and trade show.