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Investor looking at solar power in Ninh Thuan

Released at: 08:38, 08/10/2016

Investor looking at solar power in Ninh Thuan

Photo: Viet Tuan/Illustration

Home to ideal conditions, south-central province may have yet another solar power project on the way.

by Hong Nhung

The Nam Viet Green Energy JSC is seeking opportunities to invest in a solar power plant in south-central Ninh Thuan province, having met with local authorities recently to propose an investment.

Mr. Truong Xuan Vy, Deputy Director of the Provincial Department of Planning and Investment, told VET that “the investor is conducting preliminary studies but has not yet submitted legal documents to local authorities for an investment license.”

After conducting research on natural conditions in the three locations of Tan Giang Lake, Bieu River, and Lanh Ra Reservoir, Nam Viet hopes to build a solar energy plant at Tan Giang Lake with a capacity of 30 MW and total investment of an estimated $50 million.

The plant will cover an area of 40 ha on the water surface and 5 ha on land. Once operational it is expected to earn revenue of more than $5 million per year and submit an average of $600,000 to the provincial budget annually.

“Nam Viet is planning to cooperate with Japan’s Sharp Corporation to implement the project,” Ms. Le Thi Thanh Thuy, Director of Ninh Thuan’s Economic Development Office, told VET. However, “investors must wait for a legal framework on solar energy from the government,” she added.

Deputy Chairman of the Provincial People’s Committee Pham Van Hau believes that with the Japanese group’s experience and financial capacity the investor will soon invest in and begin the project. He also requested related departments to provide all relevant information on solar power investment to the investor for researching, evaluating, and preparing project planning.

South-central Ninh Thuan province has recently been a hot location for investment proposals in the hundreds of millions and even billions of US dollars, especially in the energy sector.

In the latest news, the Thien Tan Group is to invest in the largest solar power project ever in Vietnam. The project has investment capital of $2 billion and a capacity of 1,000 MW at five plants. Construction of the first plant will begin this year, with a capacity of 50 MW. By 2020 the group will finish all five plants.

According to Professor Dang Dinh Thong from the Vietnam Clean Energies Association (VCEA), a shortage of policies on power tariffs for renewable energy, particularly for solar electricity, has prevented the sector from attracting investors.

“Several investors are ready to invest in solar electricity projects in Vietnam,” he told a conference on developing solar electricity in Vietnam held in Hanoi in late September. Investors have looked to south-central Ninh Thuan and Binh Thuan provinces, which have a number of solar and wind power projects.

“The biggest challenge for the sector’s development is the price mechanism,” he explained. “The solar electricity price should be calculated properly to ensure profits for investors.”

VCEA figures show that Vietnam has about 30 local and foreign investors with solar projects ranging from 20MW to over 300MW. Several investors from South Korea, France and India have registered to invest in central provinces.

Vietnam has potential for solar energy as it has solar irradiance of 4.3 kWh per sq m and an average 2,000 hours of sunlight each year, Professor Thong said, but investors still face challenges when investing in the sector.

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