Category: News

Jetion Solar completes first EPC project in Vietnam

Jetion Solar has completed its first engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) project in Vietnam.

The 50MW Thuan Minh 2 Solar Farm was constructed with the developer Helio Power and began commercial operation at the end of June. The project is the first of a 500MW pipeline for Jetion.

CNBM New Energy, a subsidiary of Jetion Solar, signed a cooperation agreement with Helio Power Vietnam to develop and construct 500MW of solar power plants.

Vietnam’s installed solar capacity has ballooned in the last year courtesy of generous subsidies and the decline of fears about bankability. Since June 2018, the country’s solar installs multiplied by a factor of 400, according to figures released last week.

Osaka Gas forms Thailand solar JV

Osaka Gas Singapore, a subsidiary of Osaka Gas, has moved into Southeast Asian renewable energy by agreeing to establish a joint venture solar firm in Thailand with local PV company Energy Pro Corporation.

In March 2018, Osaka Gas launched a new group brand ‘Daigas Group’, with a focus on innovation in energy and service.

The new JV, named OE Solar, comes as part of Daigas Group’s intention to accelerate the growth of its energy business overseas, with Southeast Asia eyed up as a key region. The parent group is targeting around 1GW of renewable energy by 2030.

OE Solar’s main customers will be in the commercial and industrial (C&I) segment, particularly in Bangkok. In a release, Osaka Gas noted favourable irradiation levels in Thailand as well as a demand from consumers for solar without having to pay upfront costs.

Energy Pro has already installed one of Thailand‘s largest C&I projects standing at 3.2MW.

Vietnam leapfrogs Australia in solar deadline boom

Vietnam has smashed past steady Australia in terms of solar PV capacity installations after a huge number of projects were connected to the Southeast Asian country’s national grid ahead of the 30 June deadline to receive generous feed-in tariff (FiT) subsidies.

While Australia’s operational capacity grew fourfold from under 600MWac to 2.7GWac over the last year, the Vietnamese market went from less than 10MWac operational capacity as of June 2018 to over 4GWac, a 400-fold increase, according to Norway-headquartered consultancy firm Rystad Energy. 

More than 60% of the Vietnamese PV capacity was commissioned in June alone, as developers rushed to meet the FiT deadline. Rystad noted that the average time for construction and commissioning in Vietnam was 275 days, highlighting what the consultancy described as exceptional speed.

The Vietnam figures were also backed up by state-run Vietnam News Agency, which quoted monopoly utility Vietnam Electricity (EVN) data that said 82 solar plants with a total capacity of 4,460MW have been grid-connected overall in Vietnam. This also means that solar is approaching 10% of Vietnam’s total electric power capacity. Furthermore, another 13 projects with a combined capacity of 630MW are scheduled to come online by the end of this year.

“Few would have predicted Vietnamese utility PV to exceed Australia’s by mid-year,” said David Dixon, senior analyst on Rystad Energy’s renewables team. ”The commissioned capacity in Vietnam has exceeded our high case.”

Despite another 800MWac forecasted by Rystad to come online in Australia in H2 2019, the cumulative total of around 3.5GWac at that stage will still be well below that of Vietnam.

The numbers are striking because while Australian large-scale renewables were held up by political squabbling over its Renewable Energy Target (RET) mechanism, it has been seen as a steadily booming market, particularly on large-scale solar-plus-storage, since 2016, whereas Vietnam, whose PV progress just two years ago was negligible, only brought in its FiT subsidy in April 2017. This was also followed by confused debates and uncertainty around its solar PPA parameters.

With More than 4GW installed in Vietnam, Rystad described the Southeast Asian nation as a “powerhouse in the region”. Indeed a number of huge projects – the largest in the ASEAN region – have come online this summer, including Sunseap and InfraCo Asia’s 168MW plant, B.Grimm Power’s 420MW system, and BIM and Ayala’s 250MW project.

Sunseap, InfraCo Asia compete 168MW solar plant in Vietnam

Singapore-based clean energy firm Sunseap International and partner InfraCo Asia have commissioned a 168MW solar farm in Ninh Thuan province, on the south-central coast of Vietnam.

As one of the country’s largest PV projects to date, it will power the equivalent of roughly 192,000 homes under a 20-year solar power purchase agreement (PPA), the signing of which was announced last year. The plant was completed ahead of schedule and in time to receive a feed-in tariff (FiT) of US$9.35 cents per unit under the 30 June deadline.

The project, which is majority-owned by Sunseap International, offered employment opportunities to more than 2,000 workers.

Frank Phuan, co-founder and director of the Sunseap Group, said: “This project affirms Sunseap’s mission of developing affordable and reliable solar energy solutions that benefit communities while saving the environment. We hope that more communities in Vietnam will consider switching to solar for a sustainable future.” 

Allard Nooy, CEO of InfraCo Asia, said: “Developing the Ninh Thuan Solar Power Plant in partnership with Sunseap supports InfraCo Asia’s aim to serve as a catalyst for future infrastructure development in the countries and sectors in which we work. We hope this project will serve as a benchmark for future investors, demonstrating the commercial viability, development impact, and environmental benefits that can be achieved. We are very glad to have worked with Sunseap on this project in a true partnership agreement.” 

Sunseap Group recently formed a joint venture with Taiwanese firm Pacific Green Energy Co to jointly develop 100MW of distributed solar projects in Taiwan over the next three years.

Other major projects have come online recently in Vietnam to receive the FiT, including a 420MW installation by Thai firm B.Grimm Power.

ASIA ROUND-UP: Sunseap finance, Uzbekistan joins IFC scheme, Hanwha invests in Malaysia

Sunseap scores finance for 37MW of rooftop projects

20 June: Singapore-based developer Sunseap has secured a S$43 million (US$31.7 million) loan from the United Overseas Bank (UOB) to increase the use of solar power in Singapore.

The funds will be used for rooftop solar projects totalling 37MW built across 210 sites, including some government properties.

“We are delighted to have received the support of a forward-thinking institution such as UOB, which is known for their strong support of Singapore enterprises. The loan demonstrates UOB’s confidence in the solar industry in general and Sunseap in particular,” said Lawrence Wu, president and executive director, Sunseap Group.

Hanwha invests in 30MW Malaysian project

20 June: Hanwha has formed a joint venture with a local Malaysian company to develop a 30MW PV plant in the country. The partnership with Konsortium Beseri Jaya Sdn Bhd (KBJ) won the capacity in the Energy Commission’s large scale solar (LSS2) programme.

Hanwha is investing US$10 million in cash with US$50 million to be provided from OCBC Bank and Bangkok Bank.

Uzbekistan to tender 100MW under World Bank’s Scaling Solar framework

20 June: Uzbekistan joined the World Bank’s Scaling Solar initiative becoming the first country outside Africa to take part.

The scheme, run by the World Bank’s International Finance Corporation (IFC), has supported 1.5GW of solar in Zambia, Senegal, Ethiopia, and Madagascar. Uzbekistan will use the framework to tender for an initial 100MW as part of its own objective of installing 1GW of PV.

“We are delighted to see Scaling Solar expand to Central Asia with this announcement,” said Philippe Le Houérou, CEO, IFC. “Scaling Solar has successfully crowded in private investment in sub-Saharan Africa’s renewables market and its comprehensive and templated approach has enormous potential in Uzbekistan and other markets.”

FTC Solar builds on success of first private project in Vietnam

19 June: Tracker and engineering firm FTC Solar and Thien Tan Group have completed construction of the latter’s 19MW Mo Duc Solar project in Quang Ngai Province, Vietnam. The project is one of the first in Vietnam to be funded with private company capital.

After the commissioning ceremony, the pair signed contracts for two further projects totalling 80MW in capacity. As well as using FTC’s Voyager single-axis tracker, the company will provide system design, construction management and commissioning services.

USAID, ADB to invest US$7bn to add 6GW of renewables in Asia-Pacific

The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has partnered with the Asian Development Bank (ADB) to invest heavily in clean energy projects, energy efficiency and power sector reform in the Asia-Pacific region.

The partnership, signed at the Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) being held at ADB headquarters in Manila, plans to mobilise US$7 billion of investment to add 6GW of renewables capacity over the next five years. It also wants to boost regional energy trade by 10% in that period.

The two organisations have a long history of collaboration and are increasing their focus on renewable energy. Current USAID clean energy backing spans across the globe, including difficult markets from Afghanistan to Nigeria. Similarly, ADB has recently backed projects and initiatives in Cambodia and the Pacific Islands.

Cheaper finance from development players is expected to shorten the renewable transition of many countries and kickstart the local small-scale PV and storage market, according to a recent report from BloombergNEF (BNEF).

Sunseap partners Pacific Green for 100MW of solar in Taiwan

Singapore-based clean energy developer Sunseap Group has formed a joint venture with Taiwanese firm Pacific Green Energy Co to jointly develop 100MW of distributed solar projects in Taiwan over the next three years.

Sunseap has already been active in the Taiwanese market for eight months and recently provided EPC services for an AC cable manufacturer to install a 2MW solar system on the rooftops of its new Taoyuan factory. It also completed a 3.3MW canal-based solar system in Pingtung and has secured several projects in the manufacturing and agriculture sectors.

The new joint venture company will be named Pacific Sunseap Energy Ltd. 

Frank Phuan, co-founder and CEO of Sunseap, said: “We hope to replicate the success we’ve achieved in Singapore and regionally, in the areas of rooftop and ground-mounted solar solutions. The joint venture will allow us to utilise Pacific Green Energy Co., Ltd’s resources and leverage the company’s network and expertise in Taiwan, and in turn for Pacific Green Energy Co., Ltd to leverage our skills and experience in delivering clean energy solutions in a reliable and cost-effective manner.”

Sunseap continues, said Phuan, to consider alternative forms of solar deployment such as on canals, reservoirs and the sea. It has already proposed a ground-breaking ocean-based floating PV (OFPV) project on the Straits of Johor in Malaysia.

Calvin Cheng, co-founder of Pacific Green Energy, added: “Taiwan’s energy market is going through a transformational period to become more sustainable, and the time is now for the nation to embrace more green energy. With its high incentives, Taiwan is one of the fastest growing solar markets in Asia. We are confident our joint venture with Sunseap will place us in a competitive position to rapidly deploy, develop and acquire solar projects in Taiwan.”

Sunseap is currently building a US$150 million 168MW solar farm in Ninh Thuan province on Vietnam’s south-central coast. The firm also recently teamed up with one of China’s first private equity firms, Guohe Capital, and Shanghai-based renewable energy company Starkle Energy to expand into China, with a target to achieve more than 200MW of solar projects over the next two years.

B.Grimm brings online 677MW of solar in Vietnam

Thai firm B.Grimm Power has brought into commercial operation two huge solar PV projects in Vietnam, including a 420MW plant in Tay Ninh Province and 257MW installation in Phu Yen Province.

The 420MW installation was spread across two plants, Dau Tieng 1 and Dau Tieng 2, which came online to supply electricity to the national utility EVN on 3 June and 13 June respectively.

The company, through its subsidiary, B.Grimm Renewable Power 1 Limited, holds a 55% share in Dau Tieng Tay Ninh Energy Joint Stock Company, which developed the plants.

The 257MW project has been supplying power since 10 June to EVN. In this case, through its subsidiary, B.Grimm Renewable Power 2 Limited, B.Grimm holds an 80% share in Phu Yen TTP Joint Stock Company which develope the project.

Having reached commercial operation in time for the country’s first feed-in tariff (FiT) deadline on 30 June, B.Grimm will receive a FiT at US$9.35 cents per kWh for a period of 20 years for both projects.

In Paril, Vietnamese company BIM Group and Filipino firm AC Energy completed and connected to the grid 330MW of PV capacity spread across three projects in Ninh Thuan, Vietnam, of which, one plant was 250MW in capacity.

30MW completed in Ninh Thuan

Phuoc Huu electricity investment joint stock company has also built a 30MW solar project in Ninh Phuoc district, in the south-central province of Ninh Thuan on 16 June, according to the Vietnam News Agency.

It included a total investment of VND747 billion (US$31.94 million), was installed with 91,650 solar panels and was first connected to the national grid in April 2019.

Thai utility readies tender for 45MW floating solar on Sirindhorn Dam

The Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand (EGAT) will soon invite bids for a 45MWac of floating solar project at the Sirindhorn Dam, which will be the national power giant’s first foray into hybrid floating PV and hydro projects.

The date of bid opening for the Sirindhorn Dam Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Pilot Project has been set for 20 August 2019. The project location is in Sirindhorn District, Ubon Ratchatani. Relevant tender documents will be available to purchase between 20 June and 26 July.

The dam was commissioned in 1971 to serve as a hydropower facility as well as to supply irrigation water.

In a release back in April, EGAT stated: “The Hydro-Floating Solar Hybrid Project combines hydropower from EGAT’s dams, which can generate a limited amount of power in some seasons, and solar power. When there is enough water, the dam can generate power to meet the system’s peak demand, but when there is a limited amount of water, the solar cells can generate power from sunlight during the day and use hydropower to support high power demand during nighttime. It can generate power continuously to support the system’s power demand. Other than increasing the security of the power system, it also helps manage water efficiently.”

The project aims are to lower costs, increase power system security, and stabilise grid integration of renewable power generation, including the use of energy storage.

A High Density Polyethylene (HDPE) floating device made from the same material as water pipes will be used, which EGAT claims will not impact the environment and aquatic animals.

As first reported by PV Tech back in November 2018, EGAT was planning to facilitate 1GW of hybrid floating solar-hydro projects across eight dams throughout the country. This was later increased to 16 solar farms with a combined capacity of more than 2.7GW in nine of its hydroelectric dam reservoirs by 2037.

Thepparat Theppitak, deputy governor, power plant development and renewable energy, EGAT, who announced the plans, said that the 45MWac Sirindhorn Dam capacity was expected to hit commercial operation date in December 2020. Meanwhile, a second 24MWac project at Ubol Ratana Dam is due to come into commercial operation in 2023.

Floating solar continues to proliferate in Southeast Asia and globally this week with news from Dubai, Portugal, Singapore and India.

NTPC approves investment in 100MW floating PV plant in Telangana

India’s largest utility NTPC has given investment approval for a 100MW floating solar project at its Ramagundam Coal Power Station in Karim Nagar, Telangana.

A tender was issued in December 2018.

“We wish to inform that investment approval has been accorded for 100MW Ramagundam Floating Solar PV Project, Phase-I in District Peddapelli, Telangana,” said the company in a Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) filing

In January, NTPC issued tenders for 15MW of floating solar at its hydroelectric power station Koldam in the mountainous, northern state of Himachal Pradesh, as well as 20MW of floating solar PV at its gas power station in Anta in the state of Rajasthan. It is also working on 70MW of grid-connected floating solar at its Rajiv Gandhi Combined Cycle Power Plant (RGCCPP) Kayamkulam in the southern state of Kerala, among other projects in the southern state.

Solar Energy Corporation of India (SECI) has also forayed into floating solar with a batch of tenders earlier this year.

According to a Bridge to India CEO Survey, 3GW of floating PV are expected to come online in India over the next five years.

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