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|Vietnam has great potential for a high return in solar power development, Photo: Shutterstock|
In February 2019, JA Solar Co., Ltd., a Chinese manufacturer of high-performance photovoltaic (PV) products, announced that it supplied all 48.3 megawatts (MW) passivated emitter rear contact modules for the BP Solar 1 PV power plant in Vietnam. This represents the country’s first project that uses such modules.
Additionally, it is an important step in driving the application of high-efficiency solar modules in the markets of Vietnam and Southeast Asia, and is of great importance for the development of renewable energy in the region.
Located in the central province of Ninh Thuan, the solar farm is developed and constructed by Bac Phuong JSC, an emerging renewable energy company in Vietnam.
With an installed capacity of 48.3MW, the plant is expected to generate 80 million kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity and reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions by nearly 80,000 tonnes per year. JA Solar completed the supply of modules and construction of the project well ahead of schedule. In January 2019, the plant was successfully connected to the country’s national power grid and put into operation.
“JA Solar will continue to focus on technological innovation and product quality improvement to meet the diverse needs of our global customers, and promote the development of renewable energy around the globe,” said Jin Baofang, chairman and CEO of JA Solar.
To facilitate the goal, JA Solar is constructing a $280 million solar cell manufacturing plant in the northern province of Bac Giang.
Also in January 2019, China’s Trina Solar announced that it will supply passivated emitter and rear cell modules to a new 258MW project located in Ninh Thuan. The project, with the investment capital of around $220 million from Vietnam’s Trung Nam Group, is set to become the country’s largest solar power project when it is completed next year.
Trina Solar, who owns a one gigawatt (GW) solar cell manufacturing facility in Vietnam, revealed, “With the huge demand for PV products, the facility is the first combined wind and solar power generation plant in Vietnam and is expected to play a key role in the country’s transformation to renewable energy.”
It seems that Vietnam is becoming a promising market for Chinese solar manufacturers. Bac Giang is home to eight projects belonging to Chinese and Taiwanese investors, which will form the largest solar energy equipment manufacturing chain in the country, with the total capacity of 5,200MW annually.
According to the 2018-2023 Global Residential Solar Energy Market Report by Absolute Reports, one of the top report resellers in the business world, solar-based energy generation has a high potential for deployment and a high return on investment in Vietnam owing to favourable government support. The Vietnamese government has encouraged research and development activities in collaboration with corporate companies and industries. For instance, the Ministry of Industry and Trade has partnered with Spanish agencies to strengthen the solar capabilities of the country through the use of geographical information systems. These initiatives are expected to encourage the growth of solar energy potential in Vietnam.
This prospect prompted First Solar, one of the largest solar equipment manufacturers in the US, to resume operations in Vietnam last year.
Mike Koralewski, senior vice president for global module manufacturing at First Solar, said, “We have seen an increase in the demand for the product globally, so we have reactivated our investment in Vietnam. We came back because of favourable business conditions, the skilled workforce, the valuable supply chains, the stable political system, competitive costs, and the growing needs of the hi-tech industry in the region.”
First Solar is expected to increase its total production capacity from roughly 2GW in 2017 to about 7.6GW by 2020. Besides producing modules, First Solar is actively exploring module supply agreements to support local projects, and looks forward to supporting the growth of the solar industry in Vietnam.