Dong Nai plans mega solar power production on Tri An lake

Government planners in the southern province of Dong Nai are asking the Ministry of Industry and Trade for permission to develop eight solar power projects with total capacity of 5,400 MW on the Tri An Lake, a manmade lake created by the 400 MW Tri An Hydropower Plant, over 100 kilometers (62 miles) to the northwest of Ho Chi Minh City.

In their proposal submitted to the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MIT), Dong Nai authorities have said the projects will be located on the Tri An Lake and that one project will have a capacity of 1,500 MW, two projects will have a capacity 1,000 MW each, and one project will have a capacity 600 MW. 

If the projects are approved, most will exceed the capacity of the current largest solar power in Southeast Asia, the 420 MW Dau Tieng Solar Power Complex in the southern Tay Ninh Province, which started production in early September.

Currently, the total capacity of all solar power plants in Vietnam reached almost 4,500 MW at the end of June and the new projects will effectively double the current solar energy capacity of the country. 

Energy experts are excited about the potential for the projects and not that Dong Nai has great potential for solar power development with an average of 1,900 sunshine hours per year, which exceeds the 1,600 sunshine hours needed to make projects financially viable. 

Vietnam has seen a rapid construction of new solar energy and renewable power plants in the first half of this year as investors sought to beat a June 30 deadline to enjoy price incentives for feed-in tariffs for the next 20 years.

According to MIT, 89 projects began operation as of June, and another 400 are pending approval. The Vietnamese government had a target of generating 4,000 MW hours of energy from solar projects by 2025, but the capacity of solar power projects in the country has already reached 25,000 MW, far exceeding the government’s goals.

In 2018 the government in conjunction with Vietnam Electricity (EVN) set a goal of 7% for renewable energy but renewables already account for 9% of Vietnam’s energy mix this year, and could equal 15% by 2023. 

In addition to large-scale commercial projects, Vietnamese consumers are increasingly installing solar power panels on the rooftops of their homes and are tying their renewable energy into the nationwide grid. 

According to EVN, more than 9,300 rooftop solar power systems, with a total capacity of 193 MW had been installed by mid-July. EVN has installed 204 of the systems in its branches, and the remaining 9,110 systems have been installed on the rooftops of enterprises’ headquarters and households. The MIT says that it is targeting installation of solar power systems in 100,000 households between 2019 and 2025 and experts believe this goal will be easily met as citizens become more aware of the value of renewable energy.