VIETNAM: DIRECT POWER PURCHASE AGREEMENTS (DPPA) AND SOLAR ROOFTOP- UPDATING DEVELOPMENT OF NEW REGULATIONS ON DPPA AND C&I ROOFTOP IN VIETNAM

Both draft regulations for the Direct Power Purchase Agreement (DPPA) pilot program and the C&I Rooftop Solar are now still under review by the competent authorities. Below are some key updates in these two sectors in Vietnam up to June 2021:

1. Key updates on the Direct Power Purchase Agreement (DPPA) pilot pro-gram:

· MOIT is still reviewing the 2nd draft Circular on the pilot implementation of the direct power purchase between RE GENCO and the consumer (“Draft DPPA Circular”). The Circular will then be circulated throughout the rest of the gov-ernment before being legally approved and going into effect, ideally by the end of 2021;

· The Draft DPPA Circular maintains a target size of 1 GW for PDP-approved wind and solar projects above 30 MWac;

· RE Generation Companies (RE GENCO) and industrial Consumer(s) must apply together for participation in the DPPA Pilot Program through the DPPA online application portal;

· The RE GENCO must commit to reaching commercial operation date (COD) within 270 working days from the date of selection announcement;

· The DPPA Mechanism per the Draft Circular dated 8 April 2021 remains un-changed.

· DPPA Pilot Program Timeline:

– Pilot Project Planning (May-December 2019): MOIT Public Consulta-tion; First Action Plan agreed with ERAV; Market Preparation;

– Legal Approval/Invitation to Participate (Q2-Q4/2021): MOIT Circular draft published for public comment; MOIT Circular goes into effect; Pilot Program launched;

– Project Selection (Q1-Q2/2022): Applications to MOIT submitted and evaluated; Transaction documents executed; Operational capacity devel-oped.

(Source: DPPA Pilot Program Update (V-LEEP II, June 2021))

2. Key updates on the C&I Rooftop Solar:

· In 2020, Vietnam recorded 102,000 rooftop systems and reached 9.58 GW in capacity;

· The FIT 2 scheme expired at the end of 2020 and now the market is still waiting for the new Government’s new regulations on FIT 3;

· The draft regulations on FIT 3 for rooftop solar projects are still under re-view with the proposed FIT 3 as below:

ℴ For projects that achieve commercial operation in 2021, the FIT-3 in-centive will depend on project size:

– Less than 20kWp system: 6.84 UScent/kWh
– 20kWp to less than 100kWp: 6.35 UScent/kWh
– 100kWp to 1,250kWp: 5.89 UScent/kWh

ℴ For projects COD in 2022 and onward: MOIT to review and propose new tariff on annual basis;

ℴ Rooftop solar systems will be required to have a minimum self-consumption rate of 20% or a maximum excess power sale of 80% gener-ation;

ℴ Rooftop solar systems over 100kWp in size may be required to install mini-SCADA systems to support remote monitoring and system controls.

For more information on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the author Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Di-rector of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, Member to the Supervisory Board of PetroVietnam Insurance JSC and the only foreign lawyer presenting in Vietnamese language to members of the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF VIETNAM.

VIETNAM – ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER – NEW PROPOSALS ON THE DEVELOPMENT OF ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER PROJECTS

Since 1 January 2021, there have been no legal instruments in effect guiding the development of rooftop solar power projects in Vietnam (“RTS”). After a period of examining suitable power model, scale and purchase price, in March 2021, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”) submitted the Draft Decision on mechanisms for RTS development for the Prime Minister’s approval.

Notable provisions of the Draft Decision:

1. A rooftop solar power system must satisfy the following conditions:
• Photovoltaic panels must be installed on the roof of construction works;
• Constructions works must have independent functions and purposes (i.e. not constructed to install RTS system);
• RTS system’s capacity must not exceed 01 MWac and 1,25 MWp; and
• RTS system must be connected to a power grid of 35kV or less.

2. Electricity Buyer can be:
(i) Electricity Vietnam (EVN) or an authorized representative of EVN; or
(ii) In case the RTS system is not connected to EVN’s power grids: organizations, individuals purchasing electricity from the Seller/RTS developer or an authorized representative of such organizations and individuals.

In case the Buyer is EVN, the Seller and Buyer must sign the standard Power Purchase Agreement (“PPA”) unless agreed otherwise. The PPA is valid for 20 years from Commercial Operation Date (“COD”) Seller and other independent Buyers can discuss and agree on the order of implementation, installation, connection and maintenance as well as electricity purchase price by themselves in accordance with Vietnam laws.

3. Proposed FiT rate for RTS projects with COD in 2021 and EVN as Buyer:

No. Capacity of the RTS system / Electricity Purchase Price

1 – < 20 kWp: 1.582,16 VND/kWh (Equivalent USCent 6,84/kWh)

2 – From 20 kWp to less than 100 kWp: 1.468,82 VND/kWh (Equivalent USCent 6,35/kWh)

3 – From 100 kWp to 1,250 kWp (less than 01 Mwac): 1.362,41 VND/kWh (Equivalent USCent 5,89/kWh)

4. FiT rate for RTS projects with COD in 2022 and beyond shall be submitted by the Ministry of Industry and Trade for Prime Minister’s approval.

5. RTS system with capacity greater than 100 kWp must self-consume at least 20% of generated capacity per month and is only paid for 80% of total generated amount.

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For more information on the above, please do not hesitate to contact the author Dr. Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC, Member to the Supervisory Board of PetroVietnam Insurance JSC and the only foreign lawyer presenting in Vietnamese language to members of the NATIONAL ASSEMBLY OF VIETNAM.

LAWYER IN VIETNAM DR. OLIVER MASSMANN LEGAL UPDATE MAY 2018 – SOLAR ENERGY ROOFTOP TAX BENEFITS – SOLAR POWER MASTER PLAN – PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS – LATEST ON INDUSTRIAL AND ECONOMIC ZONES

1. Official No. 5111/VPCP-KTTH issued by the Government Office in response to Official Letter No. 5400/BTC-CST of the Ministry of Finance in relation to tax preferences applicable to solar roof projects of 50 kW or less.
Issuance date: 31 May 2018
Effective date: 31 June 2018
The Government in-principle approves the request from the Ministry of Finance on tax advantages applicable to solar roof projects of 50 kW or less. The Government also assigned the Ministry of Finance to issue relevant legal documents to implement this policy. Currently, request of the Ministry of Finance and draft future regulations on this topic have not yet been published.

2. Legal news: Solar power master plan – rumor on delay
The Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”) must report the list of approved solar power plants to the Prime Minister before 15 July 2018. The MOIT must also promptly finalize the national solar power development master plan for the Prime Minister’s consideration.
Currently, the number of solar power projects submitted by investors to the MOIT is significant. According to Vietnamnews, the MOIT has approved more than 70 solar power projects, with a total capacity of over 3,000MW, to come into operation before June 2019. The capacity is much larger than the combined capacity of projects by 2020 (i.e., 850 MW for solar power projects) as approved by the Prime Minister in the current power master plan VII.

Unconfirmed rumor: the MOIT (and other authorities) would likely not review and approve any application for addition of new solar power projects to the power development master plans / solar power development master plans from now until 30 June 2019. In addition, the MOIT would issue an official letter to confirm this temporary suspension.

3. Decree No. 63/2018/ND-CP issued by the Government on Investment in Form of Public-Private Partnerships (“PPP”) (“Decree 63”) replacing the old PPP Decree 15/2015/ND-CP (“Decree 15”)
Issuance date: 4 May 2018
Effective date: 19 June 2018
Decree 15, when introduced in 2015 was highly praised by legal commentators to be well drafted and make the PPP laws and regulations in Vietnam move closer towards bankable projects. However, in implementation process, there have been conflicting legal issues that deter investors from choosing PPP as an investment method, leading to a humble number of PPP projects thus far. Moreover, as PPP laws are only at Decree level, regulatory framework for PPP projects mainly includes the Law on Enterprises, Law on Public Investment, Law on Bidding, etc. most of which regulate public investment instead of private one or investment cooperation between the Government and private investors. The investors are also concerned about the stability of PPP regulations, as they are mainly Decrees. While a PPP project could take years to complete, regulations at Decree level may change and cause investors confusion in implementation of the laws. The state agencies also face certain difficulties in managing these PPP projects.
We provide below key notes on Decree 63:

Capital contribution responsibility
The investor is responsible for contributing and mobilizing capital for the project implementation, in particular, the ratio of the investor’s equity capital in total project investment capital is determined as follows:
– For projects with total investment amount of up to VND1,500 billion, the equity capital that the investor must maintain must be at least 20% of the total investment capital;
– For projects with total investment capital of more than VND1,500 billion:
o For investment portion of up to VND1,500 billion: the equity capital that the investor must maintain must be at least 20% of the total investment capital;
o For investment portion that exceeds VND1,500 billion: the equity capital that the investor must maintain must be at least 10% of the total investment capital.
There is no capital contribution requirement from the Government side.

Project approval authority
Decree 63 makes it clear the following authorities will approve PPP projects:
– The National Assembly decides the investment policy of important national projects;
– The Prime Minister decides the investment policy of the following projects:
o Projects Type A using state budget from 30% or above or below 30% but more than VND300 billion of the total investment capital of the project;
o Projects Type A using BT contracts.
– Ministers of relevant ministries decide investment policy of their own projects not falling within the approval authority of the National Assembly and the Prime Minister.
– Provincial People’s Councils decide investment policy of the following projects:
o Projects Type A not falling under the approval authority of the Prime Minister;
o Projects Type B using public investment budget; and
o Projects Type B using BT contracts.
– The provincial People’s Committee decides the investment policy of projects in their provinces not falling within the approval authority of the National Assembly, the Prime Minister and the provincial People’s Council.

Payment methods in BT projects
Practice shows that investors are very interested in well-located land when implementing BT projects. However, when such land fund gradually becomes exhausted, BT projects seem not to attract investors. Decree 63 has added another method in addition to the exchange of land for infrastructure, so that the investors will have more options in receiving payments. Specifically, the investor may also receive payment in the form of the transfer of right to conduct business, exploit works/ services, etc.

Conversion of existing public projects
Decree 63 contains procedures on converting existing public projects to PPP projects aside from other revised provisions. Those who are engaged in infrastructure projects in Vietnam may want to review how to implement such conversion in practice.

4. Decree No. 82/2018/ND-CP issued by the Government on the management of industrial zones and economic zones (“Decree 82”)
Issuance date: 22 May 2018
Effective date: 10 July 2018
Decree 82 regulates the planning, establishment, operation, policies and state management of industrial zones (IZ) and economic zones (EZ). It governs state management agencies, organizations and individuals related to investment, production and business activities in industrial zones and economic zones.
IZs are geographical areas eligible for investment incentives and enjoy preferential policies applicable to geographical areas with difficult socio-economic conditions under the investment law.
EZs are geographical areas eligible for investment incentives and enjoy preferential policies applicable to geographical areas with special difficult socio-economic conditions under the investment law.

Capital for investment on infrastructure of IZs
Investment projects on infrastructure development in IZs in areas with difficult socio-economic conditions or areas with particularly difficult socio-economic conditions shall be supported with capital from the central budget for the infrastructure investment.
Provincial People’s Committees shall balance local budgets to support investors in developing technical infrastructure systems inside and outside the IZs.

Capital for investment on technical infrastructure and social-economic infrastructure of EZ
EZ’s technical infrastructures, social infrastructure facilities and important environmental protection and treatment works shall be allocated capital from development investment sources of local budgets and support capital sources.
Large-scale infrastructure investment projects which play a key role in the development of EZs, may mobilize capital from bonds issuance. The technical and social infrastructure facilities, service works and public facilities of the economic zone may be financed by official development assistance (ODA) capital, preferential credit capital and supports other techniques.
Investment projects on construction and business of infrastructure in functional zones in EZ may mobilize capital by allowing investors to lease a part or whole of the land area in EZ for their investment or sub-lease business activities.
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Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann and Tran Minh Thanh under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director and Tran Minh Thanh is the Vietnamese lawyer of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.
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