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For years, Vietnam seemed like it was reverting to coal although there are instances when it would invest in renewable energy. Recently, Vietnam appears to be serious about solar power, an issue that has been the subject of debates for years. According to solar analyst Rishab Shrestha, project economics will remain to be attractive in large parts of Vietnam.
By the end of last year, Vietnam was able to surpass Malaysia and Thailand as the largest installed solar power capacity in Southeast Asia. According to Wood MacKenzie, a firm selling consulting services to the energy industry, Vietnam has 44% total solar power capacity. Supporters of solar power were supportive of the government’s offer of high feed in tariff (FIT), a fee that originated from Germany that allows solar panel owners to sell power to the grid.
FIT has helped push Vietnam into reaching 5.5 Gigawatts of solar capacity last year. It proved that FITs are effective in inducing rapid growth in the renewable energy sector. However, Vietnam is also planning on more coal-fed power plants that cast doubts on government’s goals of more clean energy. However, most of the construction have been shelved because the people’s resistance to coal.
Like other nations, Vietnam faces the challenge on how to dispose of photo voltaic panels in a responsible way. Solar panels cannot be recycled easily because of the toxic chemicals that they contain. Meanwhile, renewable power from the sun and wind are still the cleanest options for Vietnam.
The use of solar power is a growing trend. In California, a law was enacted this year requiring all new homes to use solar panels. In India, railways are switching to solar power. Vietnam is encouraging investors to provide solar power at a more affordable price as consumption increases in the fact growing economy.