Tag Archives: solar

Vietnam plays a calculated game of risk with new solar PPA

Vietnam appears to be betting on gung ho enthusiasm to kick start solar power development rather than taking bold steps to deliver a stable backbone to the industry.  It’s a gamble that may pay off in the short term but might also saddle the country with poorly-conceived and under-performing projects in the long term.

 

To much fanfare, Vietnam’s Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) released Circular 16 in including final template power purchase agreements (PPA) for the solar energy sector. The circular and PPA templates follow a draft issued back in April this year, and are stated to be mandatory templates for utility-scale and rooftop solar projects.

 

The original draft PPA for utility scale grid projects was met with criticism, and declared non-bankable by most experts and commentators (despite hewing closely to the previously-issued standard PPA for wind projects). Unfortunately, little has changed with the final version of the PPA.  Would-be investors raised serious concerns over the amount and type of risk the PPA sought to shift to investors, and the message delivered was that unless the government was willing to address some of the most glaring problems, few reputable foreign solar players and, just as importantly, few reputable financiers would be likely to sign up.

 

Having largely ignored recommendations provided, the final text does little to inspire confidence. The final PPA does not improve upon the main critical issues highlighted in April.  Issues include a lack of measures to compensate producers for interruption in the ability to receive power, force majeure conditions, contract suspension, and settlement of disputes.

 

Tariff trouble

 

With the FiT rate of US$0.0935/kWh for grid-connected solar power projects confirmed, Circular 16 goes on to outline that the FiT is available for 20 years to projects, or parts of projects, that reach commercial operation before 30 June 2019.

 

As with the draft from April, the final PPA does not include any indexation of the FiT to the Consumer Price Index (CPI) to address inflation risks. In response to concerns over fluctuating exchange rates, the circular does state that “the FiT for the following year shall be adjusted according to the central exchange rates of the Vietnamese dong against the US dollar announced by the State Bank of Vietnam on the last working day of the preceding year.”  Annual adjustment is better than none but it wouldn’t have been difficult to spread adjustments throughout the year.

 

As a way to offset the relatively low tariff, and inflation risks, investors may be able to benefit from tax exemptions on raw materials and supplies imported for their projects, corporate income tax relief, and an exemption from land rental fees within the first three years of commencing commercial operation.

 

A risk too far?

 

Under Decision 11 (which also set the FiT) and the final version of the PPA appended to Circular 16, Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) is responsible for purchasing the entire power output from grid-connected projects at the stated FiT.

 

However, the PPA relieves EVN from payment obligations in cases where it is unable to take power due to a breakdown of the transmission or distribution grid. With many solar projects currently focused on few central locations, the capacity of existing facilities to absorb power must be a cause of some concern given the PPA’s transfer of such risk to power producers.

 

Worryingly, the PPA lacks any mechanism to compensate power producers should interruptions happen outside of their control. Not only does the PPA not provide for extension of time in case of force majeure, but if force majeure were to prevent a power producer from meeting its obligations for a year then EVN could unilaterally terminate the PPA with no compensation payable.  In such circumstances, the power producer is left alone in the dark.

 

Such arrangements might be acceptable to projects that manage to negotiate clear ‘take or pay’ terms and/or government guarantees, but it is highly questionable whether and to what extent either of these will be possible in the current climate.  As a direct consequence, it is equally questionable to what extent private finance will be prepared to bear the risk, a fact that will prompt capital to seek more favourable conditions in other markets.

 

Playing by house rules

 

If the above portends of problems in the relationship with EVN, investors may be further discouraged by the lack of specifics in terms of dispute resolution. The PPA is governed by Vietnamese law and does not itself expressly include the right to agree on international arbitration to resolve disputes, a condition that would typically be considered an important requirement.

 

As it stands, disputes can be submitted to the Electricity Renewable Energy Department (formerly the General Directorate of Energy) for mediation. If that doesn’t work, there is the option of escalating the issue to the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam (ERAV) or pursuing litigation in Vietnam’s courts.

 

The PPA does allow for “another dispute resolution body to be agreed by the parties”, which potentially opens the door for sellers to negotiate with EVN on dispute resolution, including offshore or even domestic arbitration.  But it is not clear if EVN will agree to directly amend PPAs to allow for express prior agreement on offshore arbitration or simply open the door for such a discussion at the time of a dispute.  Clearly in the latter case the deck is firmly stacked in EVN’s favour.

 

One step forward… wait and see

 

The MoIT is well aware of the deficiencies in the PPA and knows that, in its current form, it will not attract the kind of investment Vietnam needs if it is to meet both its energy demands and renewable targets. They know that investors were hoping for some of the shortfalls to have been addressed, and as such the agreement remains – for all intents and purposes – largely unbankable.

 

On the other hand however, the MoIT is also acutely aware of the significant interest in Vietnam’s solar sector. The vast potential of solar power is there for the taking, with abundant land available for the development of solar farms for first movers. With this in mind, the PPA can be considered an attempt to test the waters – asking how much risk investors are willing to bear in return for a piece of the action.

 

The MoIT is confident that smaller, nimble players will be attracted to Vietnam and make investments, regardless of the bankability of the PPA on paper. The question truly posed by Circular 16 is: exactly how much risk are investors willing to accept?  What better way to test it than in open market conditions?  If risk allocation adjustment need to be made in future, the Prime Minister, MoIT and EVN can make them relatively easily.

 

Ultimately, although the PPA is “final” on paper, the real trick is for investors to work hard and smart to agree adjustments on a project-to-project basis that re-align specific risks in acceptable ways.  Each project is a sum of many different elements and successful investors in the early days at least will be the ones that focus their energies on key issues for their projects where they can make meaningful progress.  Opportunity vs. risk: Vietnam is playing a calculated game at the dawn of the solar energy sector.  Where the chips fall remains to be seen.

 

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.

VIETNAM SOLAR POWER – THE FIRST OFFICIAL PPA – VIETNAM INVESTMENT REVIEW INTERVIEWING DR. OLIVER MASSMANN

1. Could you point out for me the good point of this solar PPA?

While the previous draft solar PPA does not require the Feed-in-Tariff (FiT) conversion between USD and VND be according to the exchange rate at the time of payment, this newly issued solar PPA repeats the language in Decision No. 11/2017/QD-TTg (Decision 11) that the FiT will be adjusted according to the fluctuation in the VND/USD exchange rate. This is consistent with what is stipulated in Decision 11.
In addition, I note that while the FiT for power output from on-grid projects is adjusted according to the fluctuation in the VND/USD exchange rate, meaning at any time during the year, it is not the same for rooftop projects. Instead, the mentioned FiT for excessive power output generated from rooftop projects remains the same throughout the first year of operation, and the new FiT for the next year will be adjusted based on the announced VND/ USD exchange rate of the last working day of the previous year.

2. Are there any concerns of investors that the solar PPA has not solved?

The rights of the investors are not fully protected in the following cases:
– when EVN is in the process of installing equipment, or making repairs, replacement, inspection or examination of the grid connection of the seller’s power plant;
– when the transmission grid or the distribution grid connected to EVN’s grid has a problem or grid equipment directly connected to EVN’s transmission grid or the distribution grid has a problem; and
– when EVN’s grid needs support to recover after the incident in accordance with the provisions of operation of the national power system and the standards, technical regulations of the electric industry.
– allocation of feeding points into the grid
It is quite risky for the producer if the output is ready to be fed to the grid but the connection is not available to do so. Absent a clear indication of whether the Solar PPA is a ‘take or pay” agreement, investors will find it difficult to secure and ensure the profits and revenue of their projects.
• No international arbitration dispute resolution clause
• No Government guarantee to enhance the credit of EVN as the sole off-taker;
• No provision addressing the risks of changes in applicable laws; and
• The Solar PPA is required to follow a specific template, which is not bankable.

3. Is this PPA solar bankable or not?

This PPA is not bankable due to reasons specified in 2).

4. In your opinion, how Vietnam government should do in order to reach their target for solar power capacity in the coming to time?

There is an increasing interest of foreign investors in the sector, proven by the fact that there are many solar projects with total capacity of 10,000 MW registered with the MOIT. However, not many of them have submitted the pre-feasibility study to the MOIT for consideration. There are many reasons behind this, but the most important ones are the lack of Government guarantee of EVN’s payment obligation in the PPA and currency hedging. Thus, the Government should consider a mechanism where EVN has to fulfil its payment obligation and the investors are ensured that they will be able to remit their profits abroad in foreign currency.

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Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann 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 of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.
Thank you!

Renewable Energy Vietnam – Duane Morris – We get deals done:

  1. Describe the role of yourself/company/department within renewable energy in Vietnam. 

Duane Morris, as both advisor and advocate, guides clients through the complex legal, financial and political issues that pervade the energy industry. For both producers and policy-makers, as well as industry participants and consumers, Duane Morris attorneys help manage the dynamic challenges of the energy market. Our attorneys counsel our clients on regulations, transactions, litigation, project development, facility construction, financing, government relations and policy matters concerning energy. Our attorneys draw upon legal and industry experience with fossil fuels, nuclear power and renewable sources to find creative solutions to meet our clients’ needs. We have been involved in several renewable energy deals in Vietnam until successful close of the respective deal. We can get bankable deals done.

  1. Describe those individuals/companies/government departments with whom you operate mostly with?

Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam, Institute of Energy, General Department of Energy, EVN, Ministry of Planning and Investment.

  1. Explain the purpose of each of these connections whether they be formal, contracted relationships or informal relationships

They are formal relationships, where I either acted as the Chairman of the Legal Sector Committee of EuroCham, or work on behalf of our clients to connect with the authorities to get better understanding of the regulations in the sector and propose necessary changes.

  1. Describe any customs or habits that are features of doing business in the renewable energy industry? Likewise describe any customs or habits that are features of doing business in Vietnam. Explain how these customs or habits are used?

Build and maintain relationship with Government officials at all levels (central, provincial) is a must. Meetings can be formal or sometimes invite them out for lunch/ dinner. Do not go into too much details of your project or investment plan in the initial meeting. Save it for the next meetings. The first one should only be for “getting to know each other” purpose.

Vietnam has a consensus-driven system, meaning everyone has to say something. Any person has veto right. Thus, to make sure that a decision in favor of your investment is made, you have to gain support of every person who has the decision-making right.

In addition, decision making process in Vietnam has to go through many levels and thus takes quite long. Be patient then.

You should always set up a meeting some weeks in advance. Although some officials are able to communicate in English, it is advised to have a translator/ interpreter.

  1. In your opinion, who are the ‘big players’ within the renewable energy industry within Vietnam? This applies to private companies, national companies, government departments etc. 

EVN as the sole off-taker and its generation companies are the main players in the sector. Besides, the General Department of Energy, the Electricity Regulatory of Vietnam (both under the Ministry of Industry and Trade) play an important role in setting regulatory framework.

  1. Explain any rules or laws that dictate how you must operate within the renewable energy industry and within Vietnam. 

Wind: Decision No. 37/2011/QD-TTg, Circular No. 32/2012/TT-BCT

Biomass: Decision 24/2014/QD-TTg, Circular 44/2015/TT-BCT

Solid-waste power: Decision 31/2014/QD-TTg, Circular 32/2015/TT-BCT

Solar: Decision 11/2017/QD-TTg, Circular guiding the Decision and promulgating the PPA is being drafted

There are a number of laws and documents regulating an investment in Vietnam. I just name some major laws: Investment Law, Enterprise Law, Labor Law, Commercial Law, Civil Code, etc.

  1. In your opinion, to what extent does a hierarchy exist within the renewable energy industry in Vietnam? 

The development of renewable energy industry does not catch up with economic development speed. Although the Government has set out the increasing role of this sector in the energy development plan, I am afraid that the Government may fail to meet its target due to lack of support policies and bankable PPAs.

  1. Describe the main changes that have occurred to the renewable energy industry in Vietnam in the last 10 years. 

The renewable industry in Vietnam is very young. Indeed, it only started developing since the adoption of the Wind Decision in 2011. Following that Decision, the Prime Minister continued completing the legal framework for the sector by introducing Biomass Decision and Solid-Waste Decision in 2014, and the latest Decision being the Solar Decision issued in April 2017. The adoption of these policies was the joint effort of many relevant ministries, including the General Director of Energy under the Ministry of Industry and Trade, which was established at the end of 2011 to improve state management in the sector.

In 2009,  the first factory producing solar panels with total investment of USD10 million came into operation in Vietnam. Later in 2010, GE Energy invested USD61 million to establish the first factory producing wind turbines in Hai Duong. This was considered as a boost for the renewable energy market. However, by 2015, renewable energy only accounted for 5% in the total energy output, in which there is no wind and solar power but only small hydro power.

FYI, the first wind power plant came into operation in 2012 in Binh Thuan with a capacity of 30 MW. Recently, the first solar plant in Dong Thap also commenced its operation.
***
Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann 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 of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

Thank you!

Solar deals despite doubts: bankable or not, investors dive in

Foreign interest in Vietnam’s solar sector had surged after the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) announced a solar feed-in tariff (FiT) and a draft solar PPA earlier this year.  Concerns over the bankability of the proposed agreement have done little to dampen enthusiasm, with a number of players eager to get a slice of a Southeast Asian success story.

Continue reading Solar deals despite doubts: bankable or not, investors dive in

Vietnam Solar Power  – Taking stock of Vietnam’s solar energy potential – What you must know:

With the latest official issuance of a Solar Decision, Vietnam has made steady progress on its solar energy potential. The FIT is introduced in the Solar Decision to be 9.35 UScents/ kWh for grid-connected solar projects. The draft solar Power Purchase Agreement has also been recently introduced in a draft Circular guiding the Solar Decision by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

This webinar offers valuable insights into the newly formulated framework for Solar PV in the country and covers:

  • The roles and obligations for EVN carried forward by the draft
  • The bankability of the draft solar PPA, its guarantee scheme and room for negotiation
  • Insights how to make most of the opportunity for PV in the market – the 30MW off-grid rule – Getting Solar Power Project done in reasonable time:

More information of the webinar can be found here: https://www.pvtrademissionvietnam.com/webinar;

Please do not hesitate to contact Dr. Oliver Massmann if you have any questions under omassmann@duanemorris.com. Dr. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam.

THANK YOU!

 

 

 

 

The sun rises on Vietnam’s energy sector

Over the past three decades Vietnam has witnessed startling economic success thanks to the country’s openness to international trade and investment. The energy sector in particular has grown rapidly, with abundant hydrocarbons and hydropower resources allowing the country to keep pace with the energy demands of a rising population.

 

However, there may be clouds on the horizon. The most easily-accessible resources are running out and imports of coal and gas will be increasingly needed to keep industry chugging along. To maintain its high rate of growth Vietnam will be looking for huge investment over the coming years. In order to do this, and keep to its international greenhouse gas commitments, the government has set its sights on some ambitious targets for solar power generation.

 

Recent decisions issued by the government represent baby steps in this direction. Evidently, there is some enthusiasm for a solar-powered future, but is it enough?

Continue reading The sun rises on Vietnam’s energy sector

Vietnam – Solar Power – Breaking News Update First draft of the solar Power Purchase Agreement released by the Ministry of Industry and Trade

Following the issuance of Decision No. 11/2017/QD-TTg of the Prime Minister on mechanism for encouragement of development of solar power in Vietnam (Decision 11), the Ministry of Industry and Trade released the first draft of a Circular guiding the Decision last month (Draft Circular). The Circular is aimed at providing regulations on formulation, approval and amendment of the national as well as provincial power master plan. In addition, the draft solar Power Purchase Agreement (Draft PPA), which is of great interest for many foreign investors, is also provided in the Circular as a mandatory template for future solar power projects with only minor changes expected to be permitted during the contract negotiations.

In essence, the Draft PPA is almost the same as current applicable PPAs for renewable projects. This creates bankable issues for solar projects and a hindrance to foreign investors planning an investment in the sector.

Feed-in-Tariff (FiT)

The draft Circular repeats the solar FiT for power output from on-grid projects and excessive power output generated from rooftop projects specified in Decision 11 to be VND2,086/kWh or US 9.35 cents/kWh. However, unlike Decision 11, the Draft PPA does not require that the conversion between USD and VND be according to the exchange rate at the time of payment.

EVN’s rights and obligations as the sole off-taker

EVN is delegated to purchase all power output generated from solar power projects pursuant to terms and conditions of the draft PPA within 20 years.

It is noteworthy that the Draft Circular and the Draft PPA list out certain circumstances where EVN is not obliged to purchase power as negotiated with the seller, for example:

  1. when EVN is in the process of installing equipment, or making repairs, replacement, inspection or examination of the grid connection of the seller’s power plant;
  2. when the transmission grid or the distribution grid connected to EVN’s grid has a problem or grid equipment directly connected to EVN’s transmission grid or the distribution grid has a problem; and
  3. when EVN’s grid needs support to recover after the incident in accordance with the provisions of operation of the national power system and the standards, technical regulations of the electric industry.

Unfortunately, the current Draft PPA does not include provisions protecting the interests of the seller in the abovementioned circumstances. It is quite risky for the producer if the output is ready to be fed to the grid but the connection is not available to do so. Absent a clear indication of whether the Draft PPA is a ‘take or pay” agreement, investors will find it difficult to secure and ensure the profits and revenue of their projects.

Dispute resolution

The Draft PPA allows either party to the agreement to bring the dispute to local courts for litigation and other energy-related state bodies of Vietnam (General Directorate of Energy and the Electricity Regulatory Authority of Vietnam) for mediation and resolution.

The Draft PPA does not provide for international arbitration to be an option to resolve the dispute. This could be a great concern for foreign investors, especially those of large utility scale projects.

Other key issues of concern

  • No Government guarantee to enhance the credit of EVN as the sole off-taker;
  • No provision addressing the risks of changes in applicable laws; and
  • The Draft PPA is required to follow a specific template, which is not bankable.

While the current Draft PPA leaves certain key issues unresolved, we note that this is only the first draft. Thus, it will be subject to potential revisions before its official adoption. We believe that with lessons learnt from the PPA for other renewable projects, the Ministry of Industry and Trade will complete the Draft PPA towards a mutually beneficial agreement for both the seller and the purchaser.

How to avoid EVN – The 30 MW rule

Considering the monopoly role of EVN as well as tough negotiation of the PPA, investors could still get out of this trouble. According to Article 1.2 of Circular No. 56/2014/TT-BCT promulgating methods to determine electricity generation price and examination steps of the PPA, the important requirement to negotiate with EVN is whether it is an on-grid or off-grid project. If it is an on-grid project with capacity of more than 30 MW or under 30 MW but voluntarily participating in the power market, the investor must negotiate with EVN. This means if the project is off-grid, there will be no requirement to negotiate with EVN. Therefore, if you are new to the market, an off-grid 30MW project or less is a smart option to test the water. Once you have built up your track record, you can go for larger scale projects.

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Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

 

 

VIETNAM – SOLAR POWER – AMAZING BREAKING NEWS – THE VERY FIRST SOLAR LAW – GOVERNMENT’S SUPPORTING REGIME FOR SOLAR POWER PROJECTS IN VIETNAM FINALLY OUT

 

On 11 April 2017, the Prime Minister officially approved the issuance of Decision No. 11/2017/QD-TTg on supporting regime for the development of solar power projects in Vietnam.

We note below some major points in this Decision:

Feed-in-tariff (FIT) rate

EVN is responsible for buying the whole electric output from on-grid solar power projects with the electric buying price at the point of electricity receipt to be 2,086 Vietnamese dong/kWh (equivalent to 9.35 UScents/kWh) (VAT excluded). This FIT only applies for on-grid projects with capacity of solar cell being over 16% or of solar module being over 15%.

There is no FIT for rooftoop solar power projects if such projects are not grid-connected. This is one of the differences compared with the previous Draft Solar Decision which sets a seperate FIT for rooftop projects when they are connected to the grid.

The FIT is based on the VND/USD exchange rate issued by the State Bank of Vietnam on 10 April 2017 (USD 1 = VND22,316). This FIT will be adjusted according to the fluctuation of the VND/USD exchange rate as specified in the standard Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) to be issued by the Ministry of Industry and Trade. We note that the solar PPA will have a term of 20 years from the commercial operation date of the solar plant and can be extended/ renewed based on regulations in effect at that time.

Investment incentives

Investment capital: Investors may mobilize capital from domestic or overseas organizations and individuals to invest in solar power projects.

Import duty: Solar power projects are exempted from import duty on goods imported to create fixed assets of the projects; components, materials and semi-finished products which are not available at home for the project’s operation.

Corporate income tax: solar power projects will also enjoy the same corporate income tax exemption and reduction as projects in sectors receiving investment incentives according to the current regulations on taxation. For example, corporate income tax rate of 10% will be applied for 15 years, tax exemptions within 4 years and tax reduction by 50% in the next 9 years.

Land: Solar power projects, lines and transformer stations connected to the national grid enjoy the same exemptions and reductions in land use, land rental as projects being entitled for preferential investment treatment. Such incentives, among other things, include exemption of land rental within 3 years from the operation date of the project.

Projects included in the Power Master Plan

The Power Master Plan, whether it is national or provincial, only applies for on-grid solar projects.

Projects of 50MW or below will be approved by the Ministry of Industry and Trade to be included in the Power Master Plan, while those of more than 50MW will be approved by the Prime Minister.

Thus, it could be understood that off-grid and rooftop projects do not have to be included in the Power Master Plan. This will save the investors the hassle of negotiating the PPA with EVN.

The Decision has effect from 01 June 2017 to 30 June 2019.

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Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

 

 

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann Solar Power Latest Updates on Draft Laws:

We have contacted the Department of Renewable Energy under the MOIT who is in charge of drafting this Decision. The Decision is still in a draft version (although it has been submitted to the Prime Minister for signature), thus can’t be published yet.

The final Decision will be issued this year but the exact timing is still uncertain.

Through our consultation with an official of the Department about the content of the Decision, for on-grid solar projects, the FIT rate will be 11.2 UScents/ kWh.

For on-grid rooftop solar projects, the rate will be 18 UScents/ kWh.

The rate in VND will be indicated in the final Decision based on the USD/VND exchange rate at that time and the MOIT will issue an Official Letter every year to adjust the rate in VND according to the fluctuation in the exchange rate.

Rooftop solar projects of less than 50kW will not have to connect to the grid. For those of more than 50kW, connection to the grid is required and an electricity operating permit must be obtained.

Please do not hesitate to contacts Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam.

Thank you !

Lawyer in Vietnam Oliver Massmann SOLAR ROOFTOP PROJECT KEY DRIVERS

1. What are the key factors that are driving and restraining the ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER projects market in Vietnam?
In our view, following factors influence investors’ decision in investing in Rooftop Solar Power (RSP) projects in Vietnam:
• Low FIT: the proposed draft law suggests that ‘when electricity generated is higher than electricity consumed, the difference shall be purchased by the purchaser at the connection point, with the electricity tariff is 3150 VND/kWh (excluding value added tax, equivalent of 15 USDcents/kWh). Electricity tariff shall be adjusted according to the fluctuations of the exchange rate between VND/USD’.
• Lack of information on solar power: As a RSP project investment costs are relatively high, investors seek necessary information to support their investment decision. Nevertheless, there is no complete survey or complete source of information on solar energy that investors may access.
• Legal framework: The legal framework for solar power plants are under development. The MOIT is now working on a new draft decree to deal with difficulties that investors may face including application for tax incentives, import of equipment, convenient funding plans, etc.
• Other considerations such as investment costs, technology, etc.

2. Questions regarding cumulative installed capacity:
i. As of December 2013, the cumulative installed capacity for solar PV was 4 MW. What is your estimate of cumulative installed capacity till end of 2015?
The Vietnamese solar PV market is still very small with only around 4.5 MWp installed capacity at the end of 2014. Vietnam is expected to increase to around 7 MWp until 2020 and 1,500 MWp until 2030 with a respective share in renewable power generation capacity of 1.2% (by 2020) and 12.8% (by 2030). I do not have the exact number of cumulative installed capacity in 2015 but I estimate that it should have reached 5MWp.
ii. In your opinion, rooftop solar power installation accounted for how many percent of total solar PV installations? ( 2%?, 5%?)
We do not have access to any official source of latest information on specific numbers of RSP installations and total solar PV installations. Nevertheless, as noted in our answer to your Question 3 above, Vietnam has roughly 15,000 small scale PV off-grid applications, by the end of 2014. Based on such records, the rough percentage of installations of rooftop solar power installations would be 40% of the total solar PV installations (i.e. 6,000 RSP installations for solar home systems and small size PV systems for public use vs. 9,000 ground mounted PV installations for BTS, telecommunication use, public lightening systems and solar signal lights).
iii. What is the expected growth rate from 2016-2020? Is the growth rate of the industry moving in the right direction to achieve the proposed target? (if any?)
It is expected to achieve around 7 MWp until 2020 (growth rate 40% compared to 2016). Yes, the growth rate is moving in the right direction.

3. We are trying to identify the key end-users for ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER systems. What is the percentage (approx.) installed capacity among each of them: Residential, Commercial (Buildings) and Others (Car parking facilities, etc.
We do not have specific figures of RSP system’s installed capacity but according to a recent report of solar power in general, by the end of 2014, roughly 15,000 small scale PV off-grid applications with a total capacity of 3,600 kWp, the vast majority being <200 Wp of size only a few with more than 1kWp, were installed in Viet Nam. Of those, around 5,000 are solar home systems (SHS) with a size of 20-200Wp, 2,100 are telecommunication and BTS systems (300-4,000 Wp) and more than 1,000 are small size PV systems for public use such as in community centers, schools or medical centers (up to 3,000 Wp), which are deployed in rural and mountainous areas or on islands. Furthermore, around 5,000 solar signal lights (20-100 Wp) and 2,000 public lighting systems (50-250 Wp) were installed alongside streets and highways throughout the country.

4. Questions regarding cost:
i. What is the installation cost involved per kWp among different end-user segments in your country? (Residential, Commercial, Community) How is it likely to change in the future?
Residential/Community: $2,500 to 3,000 per kWp
Commercial: $4,500 per kWp
The installation costs can be reduced in future thank to increasing use of locally made products in solar power system and commitments to support including investment costs of the Government of Vietnam.
ii. What is the percentage break-up of installation costs among the various components in a ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER system? (Module, Charge controller, battery, inverter etc.)
Let take an example of a PV at the capacity of 1KWp/2KVA, the percentage of components costs exclusive of costs paid to installation of works by workers will be as follows:
Components Unit Price (USD)
Solar Panel 12 1,636
Battery 6 819
Inverter 1 410
Controller 2 367
3,232

5. What kind of solar panels are largely in demand for ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER systems (Monocrystalline/polycrystalline panels, thin film technologies)? Why? What is the average price range ($/Watt p) for these solar panels in Vietnam?
Monocrystalline/polycrystalline panels are popular in Vietnam as off-grid installed capacity in Viet Nam is dominated by smaller applications such as Solar Home Systems (SHS). Depending the quality and the brand name, the price is different. The average price is 3-5USD/Watt p.

6. How do you hear about new projects and could you please provide me with more examples of key recent projects? How these projects are funded? (banks, financial institutions, government, self-funded)
Basic information of big projects is usually published on the internet. Recently, Vietnam is going to build the first solar power project in Quang Nam with the installed capacity of 120 MW per year, invested by a domestic company Indochina Energy Industry Company Limited.

7. How many system integrators or installers are involved in installing ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER systems? Are there more local players or MNCs? What is the role of system integrator in such contracts? Who are the top 5 system integrators in Vietnam?
We assume that not more than 20 companies, most of them are local and produces components in solar cells/panels and related electronic devices (e.g. – controllers), act as integrators and/or installers. Major players including Hung Gia (Installation), Vtechco (Installation), Vu Phong (Installation), Nam Thai Ha JSC (Solar Materials Incorporated), Red Sun Solar (Solar Cells), Viet Linh AST (solar system), NICS Integration System (Installation).
We do not have specific market shares figures of biggest players in the market but are able to involve a professional market research company to do this job on your behalf.

8. Who are the top 5 competitors/ which brands of solar modules are highly popular in the ROOFTOP SOLAR POWER market?
The rooftop solar power market in Vietnam is still developing and there are not so many competitors yet. The popular names of Rooftop Solar Power Market are Red sun solar, Viet Vmicro JS, Panasonic, Megasun, IREX.

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Please do not hesitate to contact Oliver Massmann under omassmann@duanemorris.com if you have any questions or want to know more details on the above. Oliver Massmann is the General Director of Duane Morris Vietnam LLC.

THANK YOU !