Sterling and Wilson to develop 300 MW of solar in Vietnam

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Vietnam’s installed solar base is set to grow rapidly in 2018, experts agree, and Indian EPC Sterling and Wilson hopes to extend this growth out into 2019 with the completion of 300 MW of new solar PV capacity across the country.

The EPC has signed contracts with a handful of leading developers in Vietnam, and has penciled in a June 2019 date for the completion of all projects.

Collectively, the total amount of investment that the project has attracted is US$250 million, with up to as many as 700 jobs poised to be created during the building phase, and 50 post-installation jobs secured for the 20-year maintenance phase of the plants.

Sterling and Wilson’s presence in the Southeast Asia region has thus far centered on the Philippines – where the company has a portfolio of 50 MW of solar projects under its belt – and Bangladesh, the location of a 60 MW solar project currently in the commissioning stage.

These Vietnam plans will ultimately generate 270 million units of solar electricity annually, and Sterling and Wilson’s renewable energy and storage CEO, Bikesh Ogra is buoyed by the potential impact these solar plants can have on the country.

“Vietnam is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world, with nearly 8-10% annual increase in power consumption by industries who are the largest consumers of electricity in the country,” Ogra said.

Vietnam’s deepening appetite for electricity has prompted the government to set an official solar power goal of just 800 MW by 2020 – a rather anemic target and an unambitious portion of the wider 6.5% renewables goal.

Ogra, however, believes that the current solar power potential in Vietnam could see the country hit 7 GW of PV capacity by that date, provided leading developers and government continue to work together.

In the past few months, the drip-drip of new projects being announced in the country has increased into something of a flood, with Vietnam now sitting on a solar development pipeline of more than 500 MW of projects, according to pv magazine research.