Risk management material to increase efficiency of solar power projects

November, 03/2021 - 11:01

Investors, contractors and owners of solar power plants in Việt Nam will soon have an additional source of reference material for developing risk management plans during the approach or implementation of ground-mounted solar power projects.


In the last few years, the Government of Việt Nam has made efforts to utilise the great potential of renewable energy in the country to solve future energy challenges. Important policies on solar power planning, electricity prices, tax incentives and access to preferential loans have been issued. These policies have been promoting the development of renewable energy in Việt Nam and contributing to the national energy transition towards a more sustainable energy system.

However, the rapid development of solar power projects recently has also created challenges, especially at the project level, such as the lack of a competent workforce with specialised knowledge on designing, installing, operating, and maintaining solar power plants or the lack of standards and sample procedures for quality control. Such challenges increase the risks of technical errors during the operation and maintenance of the plants. 

Therefore, risk management is one of the activities that need to be identified and invested in as early as possible to avoid unfavourable consequences and improve cost-effectiveness.

Over the past year, energy experts and technical officers of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH, in collaboration with local and international consultants, have compiled the 'Handbook for Managing Technical and Operational Risks of Ground-mounted Solar PV Projects in Việt Nam.’ The authors have collected a lot of specialised knowledge about risk management processes and methods, major technical risks and the actual operation of the solar power market in Việt Nam.

On October 27, 2021, under The EU – Việt Nam Energy Facility (EVEF) co-funded by the European Union and Germany, GIZ held a consultation workshop on the handbook, aiming to collect feedback, suggestions, and evaluations from project planners, project managers, and experts before finalizing and publishing the handbook officially.

Speaking at the workshop, Koen Duchateau, Head of Cooperation of the European Union Delegation to Việt Nam said: “I believe this handbook was compiled at the right time, as risk management is becoming increasingly important in boosting investor confidence by ensuring profitability, controlling costs and creating better conditions for growth.”

Sven Ernedal, Director of the EU – Viet Nam Energy Facility (EVEF) project.

Sven Ernedal, Director of the EVEF Project shared: “With many years of cooperation with MOIT, we believe that the Government of Viet Nam has been very successful in supporting renewable energy to thrive in the past 4 years with more than 8GW of ground-mounted solar power.”

“But along with the development, there are still many risks; therefore, GIZ and the EVEF project want to approach this issue and publish a handbook to improve the quality of the development, construction, and operation management of solar power projects.”

Bui Son Tu, Head of Operation Management Board of Vu Phong Group - an enterprise that is operating 300 MW of ground-mounted solar power in central Việt Nam and dozens of rooftop solar projects, said that solar power plants in Việt Nam were mostly built and operated by European standards that took into account local environmental factors such as rainfall, heat, and weather.

However, due to the short study period, all risks caused by environmental factors were not fully assessed. For example, the equipment and foundations of a solar power plant of the Group in Ninh Thuan Province were corroded after only three years of operation. According to its design, the equipment and foundation should last roughly 20 years. Such problems affect the project’s efficiency and require additional costs to fix. This highlights the gap between European standards and practical use in Việt Nam, Tu said.

The “Handbook for Managing Technical and Operational Risks of Ground-mounted Solar PV Projects in Việt Nam” will be finalised and issued by the end of November 2021 and is expected to become a helpful reference material for those concerned.