Waiting in front for the solar power market

Along with Vietnam on the way to develop renewable energy, GE has introduced new, more advanced technology solutions, contributed to explore the potential of solar power in Vietnam.

The potential market

Because of fast growing up economy, Vietnam is facing pressure on energy demand. Although Vietnam still has been using traditional resources such as coal, hydropower and gas to produce power to ensure national energy safety, but in the long term, the needed is to aim to build a balanced energy structure by the development of renewable energy, in which, solar energy is having advantageous because the price of technology equipment is sharply reduced and the trend of switching to renewable energy is expanding in the world.

Vietnam is considered as a huge potential country of solar power, equivalent to other countries had developed solar market in the region such as China, Thailand, Philippines or traditional markets such as: Italy and Spain. Specifically, the total number of sunny hours in Vietnam is about 1,600 - 2,700 hours / year and the average annual solar radiation reaches about 4-5 kWh / m2 / day.

The plan of national electricity development for the period of 2011-2020 and vision to 2030 (Electricity Plan VII) also determines the priority of developing solar power which will be increased the installed capacity from 6 - 7 MW in 2017 to about 850 MW in 2020 and about 12,000 MW in 2030, equivalent to 1.6% and 3.3% of the total power capacity.

To achieve this goal, Vietnam Government has issued some preferential policies to encourage the investment in the solar energy sector.

In April 2017, the Government issued the Decision No. 11/2017 / QĐ-TTg on the development of solar power in Vietnam, in which, the regulated price of electricity buying price is 9.35 US cent/ kWh. In September 2017, the Ministry of Industry and Trade issued Circular 16/ 2017/ TT-BCT detailing the regulations on project development and model electricity trading contracts for solar power projects in Vietnam. The issuance of new electricity buying prices and the Model Power Trading Contract has created a legal basis for attracting the private investment into the solar power market in Vietnam.

With the support policy, the solar power market in Vietnam is increasingly receiving the attention of major investors. Many domestic and foreign enterprises are actively building plans to develop solar power projects in Vietnam. The next step is to choose the suitable technology to accomplish those projects.

GE waits in front for the solar power market

1.5kV technology advantage

The solar inverter (PV Inverter) is a direct current (DC) converter from solar energy to alternating current (AC) directly connecting to the national power grid.

GE has focused on improving the inverter technology by increasing the voltage, thereby producing more electricity per square meter. Thus, solar power farms can operate effectively on smaller areas and lower requirements of infrastructure investment. The 1-kV inverter was used commonly few years ago, now gradually replaced by the 1.5-kV-standard inverter produced by GE and first launched in 2012.

When combined with a 330-Wp capacity solar panel, 1.5-kV inverter will reduce system costs by 3% and operating costs by 15%. Thanks to remarkable efficiency and low-competitive cost, GE's 1.5 kV technology is widely applied worldwide and gradually replaced the 1-kV standard set. The first projects using 1.5-kV technology are in Asian countries such as Japan and India. Currently, investors use 1.5-kV technology to develop solar power to reduce costs and increase investment returns.

Along with hardware advancements in solar power production, opportunities are expanding in the Internet world connecting everything (IoT).

Thanks to real-time digital knowledge and Big Data analysis, solar power productivity and performance will be more clearly defined in the future, from predictably automated and advanced maintenance to monitoring all the hardware in the solar power plant. Since then, the cost and time of power outages will be reduced, while operational efficiency will be increased. This is an advantage because in this industry, only a broken part will lead to stagnant days, reducing power output.

The rapidly growing solar power market is accompanied by the complexity of factories due to the growing scale and grid stability challenges. Operators, owners, investors and project developers have been looking for methods to minimize the risks and bring the highest profit.

That's why the solar energy industry is developing integrated systems and this is GE's main approach to the entire grid-connected power plant ecosystem.

Currently, GE is negotiating with customers to implement contracts under the "turnkey" method for the project, from solar panels to HV substations, including PV panels, inverter, balance system, SCADA controlling and monitoring system, obeying standard of the grid and substation connection. GE has also worked with local companies to provide a complete EPC contractor contract for solar projects in Vietnam. GE also offers a flexible digital service service that allows long-term performance assurance.

 Open up new opportunities

Similar to Vietnam, Dubai of the United Arab Emirates is one of the most efficient solar power development sites, with abundant solar light sources. GE has been helping Dubai Water and Energy Agency to build a giant solar power plant in the Dubai desert.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park plant was developed with 3 phases, expected to be completed by 2030. It is the largest project in the region, with a power capacity up to 5,000-MW. Phase II of the project uses GE technology for a capacity up to 200 MW, enough for lighting more than 30,000 households and reducing 250,000 tons of CO2 per year.

However, the ambient temperature in Dubai can be up to 50 degrees Celsius. This is an obstacle for product design to withstand such severe weather conditions. With its strengths, GE has researched and released an inverter that works effectively in a high temperature environment.

The 1.5-kV inverter also allows solar power plants to be simpler to design, lower infrastructure requirements than 1 kV technology plants. Thus, GE's third-phase solar plant used advanced inverter is expected to produce power at a price of 2.99-cent/ kWh, surpassing traditional fuels and becoming the cheapest energy in Dubai.

With advanced and reliable solar technology, GE has been helping Dubai to expand solar energy towards a balanced energy structure. GE also committed to bring the latest technology and best solutions to boost Vietnam's solar market in the near future.

  • 14/02/2019 04:23
  • evn.com.vn