|A rooftop solar power system at Kizuna 2 Rental Service Factory in Long An Province’s Can Giuoc district. (Source: nld.com.vn)
The Saigon Union of Trading Co-operatives (Saigon Co.op) is one of the pioneering units piloting the rental of roof solar power systems for its shopping centres and affiliated supermarkets.
Sense City outlets in Ben Tre province and Can Tho City, and Co.opmart Huynh Tan Phat supermarket in Ho Chi Minh City’s District 7, have installed solar panels on their rooftops.
Diep Dung, Saigon Co.op chairman, told Nguoi Lao Dong (The Labourer) newspaper that Saigon Co.op supported the use of renewable energy.
“Solar panel suppliers install rooftop solar panels and commit to sell solar power to Saigon Co.op at a cheaper price than the current electricity price,” he said.
The average retail price for power has been raised by 8.36 percent from 1,720 VND (7.49 US cents) per kWh to 1,864 VND (8.03 US cents), excluding value added tax.
After the trial period, the two sides will sign a contract if the system has good results, Dũng said.
According to the agreements, the provider will dismantle the panels to return the empty roof to Saigon Co.op after the contract expires.
In addition to the Government's policies encouraging investment in solar power, many banks are providing more loans for green energy projects, including Vietcombank, HDBank, VietinBank Agribank and Vietnam Development Bank.
Since the beginning of the year, the number of individuals and businesses investing in solar power has increased significantly.
Kizuna JV Corporation has three rental service factories in Long An province’s Can Giuoc district.
The company has invested 60 billion VND (2.6 million USD) to install a rooftop solar power system with a capacity of 3MW on 8ha of roofs at its Kizuna 2 factory.
About 80 percent of the investment costs are borrowed from Vietcombank’s lending programme for business investment in renewable energy projects, with a preferential interest rate for eight years.
“The time is ripe to invest in solar power. Its operation is advanced and the price of solar panels is quite reasonable,” chairman of the Kizuna JV Corporation’s board of directors, Doan Hong Dung, said.
The Government has a policy to support and buy solar electricity at higher prices, about 9.25 US cents per KWh, he said.
“We will consider investment in solar power panels at the remaining two factories or work with solar power solution providers to lease the factories’ roofs,” he said
Demand for solar power has increased sharply, so many power companies are renting the rooftops of citizens or leasing solar power systems.
For example, TTC Green Energy Investment Joint Stock Company (TTC Energy) is negotiating with several partners to lease 18 MW of rooftop solar power systems.
The company targets leasing 45 MW this year, much higher than the rate of 12 MW in previous years.
VNG Corporation and enterprises at Tan Thuan EPZ and some supermarkets in HCM City are among the company’s first customers leasing solar power systems.
Pham Trong Quy Chau, director of the TTC Energy, said the company will sell the electricity generated from solar panels to the tenant at a price at least 10 percent less than the national retail electricity price.
Depending on purposes of trading or production, the leasing contract period may last for six to seven years or longer. After the contract expires, the lessor will hand over the entire system to the tenant to continue to use the system, he said.
The useful life of solar panels is 20 to 25 years.
The solar power rental service is used by businesses only. There are still legal barriers for use by households.
“Our service is in the process of developing. Renting the roofs of enterprises will become more common in the near future," Chau said.
Some members of multinationals have suggested that the company lease their roofs, he said.