Tag Archives: solar projects

Crunch time for PM’s decision on solar FIT2

In a 6 Feb 2020 report to the PM, the MOIT shares views received from the Ministry of Justice and Ministry of Finance on the long-awaited new FIT regime for solar projects. Interestingly, a new option has emerged: that FIT 2 could apply to all projects approved in principle prior to 23 November 2019 and that reach COD by 31 December 2020. While December 2020 is still very close and thus a practical limit, this option is still markedly broader than the MOIT’s earlier proposal that only projects that had commenced construction (with very narrow criteria of what that means) prior to 23 November 2019 (and reach COD by 31 December 2020) should be entitled to FIT 2.

If the PM accepts this new option it would significantly increase the number of already-approved solar projects potentially eligible for FIT 2. that would be welcome news for approx. 40 projects currently in FIT limbo.

With this document, it appears that all involved ministries and other stakeholders such as EVN have been formally consulted and their opinions formally shared with the PM. The ball is firmly in the PM’s court now.

See the original text of the 6 Feb report here: FIT 2

For more information about Vietnam’s energy sector, please contact Giles at GTCooper@duanemorris.com or any of the lawyers in our office listing. Giles is co-General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC and branch director of Duane Morris’ HCMC office.

Narrow view of “under construction” may spell end of FiT goal for vast majority of Vietnam’s approved solar power projects

Only a tiny proportion of already-approved solar projects may qualify for Vietnam’s next feed in tariff (FiT 2) according to draft opinions from the MOIT.  If the Prime Minister agrees with the approach, many projects with already-signed PPAs, some in very advanced stages of development, look set to be forced into participating in tariff auctions or, worse, have their approvals withdrawn altogether.

The unsigned and undated MOIT document follows the Prime Minister’s surprise announcement dated 22 November that FiT 2 will only be available for projects with signed PPAs that are “under construction” and provided they reach COD by end of 2020.  The MOIT document seeks to define what “under construction” means for this purpose.  It takes a narrow view, referring to Article 6.1.b of Decree 59/2015/ND-CP dated 18 June 2015 re management of construction projects to suggest that for a project to be considered “under construction” the project must have completed appraisal of detailed / technical construction designs prior to 22 November 2019.

According to the MOIT’s data contained in the draft, it appears that only four out of 23 projects having already-signed PPAs but not yet reached COD would meet this criteria (some sources indicate there may be in excess of 30 such projects).  That would leave the vast majority of projects with signed PPAs out of contention for FiT2 and left scratching their heads as to what happens next.

As noted, the draft letter sighted is unofficial and draft only at this time so it is not yet definitive.  From our point of view, the MOIT is offering a far too narrow interpretation of what “under construction” could/ should mean.  Article 6.1.b of Decree 59 provides for numerous additional steps in the construction process that, if considered, would broaden the net substantially.  For example, it also refers to land allocation or lease; site investigation works, demining (if any); construction survey work; formulation, appraisal and approval of design and construction estimates; issuance of construction permits (if required); selection of contractors and signing of construction contracts, among other points.  There are approved projects that have paid for land clearance and compensation and started some site preparatory works but have held off completing detailed construction design appraisal pending the next FiT policy news.

As ever, it remains to be seen what final decision the PM will make on this issue.  It is not unreasonable to believe that the PM may consider the MOIT’s suggestion to be too narrow considering the substantial resources already committed by developers on many of these projects, some of which signed PPAs late 2017/ early 2018 expecting to make the FiT 1 cut off of 30 June 2019 and that have been left in limbo over the past nearly 6 months while the PM mulls the country’s new solar policy.

Watch this space.

For more information about Vietnam’s energy sector, please contact Giles at GTCooper@duanemorris.com or any of the lawyers in our office listing. Giles is co-General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC and branch director of Duane Morris’ HCMC office.

The beat goes on: Vietnam’s new solar tariff documents add to the uncertainty

A flurry of recent official communications on the new solar FiT regime have only added to uncertainty about the income stream for solar projects in Vietnam after June 2019.

Following nearly two months of relative silence last draft proposed new FiTs were made public (read about them: here and here), the PM and MOIT have exchanged letters indicating that policy and decision makers are still some distance apart on a final position.

In a letter to the MOIT last week, the PM proposed that the provinces be divided into two regions with different tariffs, half the number of regions proposed by the MOIT recently,  and meaning lower overall tariffs for Northern provinces which have barely seen any solar project action since the sun rush kicked off a couple of years ago.

The MOIT responded by urging the PM to further consider the 4 region options it previously tabled in April and May.

On the other hand, the PM’s letter indicates some sympathy for projects struggling to meet the current 30 June 2019 COD deadline, intimating that they ought to be allowed to continue to enjoy the current 9.35c tariff  if their efforts to meet the COD deadline have been hamstrung by matters outside their control (e.g. – land clearance).  The MOIT response takes a  harder line on this, giving its view that the 30 June 2019 deadline should remain a bright line with no exceptions (outside of those Ninh Thuan projects already granted an extension last year).

With the MOIT now seeking further opinions from EVN, the MOF and MOJ, one imagines it is could be risky to assume that the new FiT rates will be officially promulgated prior to the existing ones expiring on 30 June.

The two regions and corresponding FiTs for different kinds of solar projects as proposed by the PM are:

Region I (all Provinces except Region II Provinces)

Floating solar power = VND1,758/ kwh = 7.69 US cents / kwh
Ground mounted solar power = VND1,620/ kwh = 7.09 US cents / kwh
Roof solar power = VND1,916/ kwh = 8.38 US cents / kwh

Region II (Phú Yên, Gia Lai, Đăk Lăk, Khánh Hòa, Ninh Thuận and Bình Thuận Provinces)

Floating solar power = VND1,655/ kwh = 7.24 US cents / kwh
Ground mounted solar power = VND1,525/ kwh = 6.67 US cents / kwh
Roof solar power = VND1,803/ kwh = 7.89 US cents / kwh

Be aware: these are far from final.  Watch this space.

For more information about Vietnam’s energy sector, please contact Giles at GTCooper@duanemorris.com or any of the lawyers in our office listing. Giles is co-General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC and branch director of Duane Morris’ HCMC office.