Vietnam and Indonesia eyeing 10 GW of solar PV

Southeast Asia in many people’s eyes would appear to be the perfect place for solar market development, with excellent solar resources, a growing need for electrification and close proximity to Asian solar manufacturers. It looks as if the governments of Vietnam and Indonesia may also both be on board to grow the industry, as they each eye 5 GW of installed PV by 2020, according to Reuters.

Indonesia had already made a pledge of 5 GW of solar PV to be installed over the next 2-3 years in a decree earlier in the year, however, this had been thrown into doubt with the sacking of the country’s Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arcandra Tahar. The new report suggests that there is still plenty of political will to see this pledge through, and that Vietnam also wants to put an emphasis on solar development.

The great driver behind these targets is the obligation to build green energy capacity in the countries after the Paris climate agreement, which came into effect on Friday. But there is also a need for increased energy within the countries, and with the reduction in price of solar, it now becomes a much more attractive prospect for the countries.

There are not many solar developers that are active in the two countries as of yet. German ASEAN Power is one such company that is already developing large-scale projects in the two countries, announcing in October that Southeast Asia is its most promising growth region, with more than 150 MW of its projects in development stage in Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Indonesia and the Philippines.

Interestingly, Canadian energy company CMX Renewable Energy has also applied for a license to build a 150 MW solar plant in Vietnam, aiming to be one of the front runners in the market. . The proposal from the company outlined an investment of USD 150 million for the project, which would be built in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.

Korean solar giant Hanwha and U.S. company First Solar are also making tentative first steps into the Vietnamese solar market, however, there seems to be less activity in the Indonesian market, for now, with little news of large-scale solar developments. A rise in investments in efficient and flexible distributed power solutions, highlighted in a recent Frost & Sullivan report, suggests that there is plenty of potential for developers to take some early steps in the country.