HCM City promotes installation of rooftop solar power at State offices

September 07, 2023 - 09:21
HCM City is going to install more solar panels on the roofs of State administrative agencies and public service units.
Solar panels installed on the rooftop of Thủ Đức Water Supply Plant. — Photo www.sggp.org.vn

HCM CITY — HCM City is going to install more solar panels on the roofs of State administrative agencies and public service units.

In 2021, the municipal People’s Committee approved the expansion of a pilot project to install rooftop solar panels in State administrative agencies and public service units in the city. This was in compliance with the Government policy to develop clean and renewable energy.

About 1,800 buildings in the city are eligible for the project to create a total capacity of 160MWp.

Statistics from the project “Electricity Development Planning in the city in the 2016-25 period, with a vision to 2035", show that in the dry season, the city experiences 300 hours of sunshine per month.

The figure for the rainy season is 150 hours a month. This shows the great potential of solar energy development, especially on rooftops.

Until now, many State office buildings have finished setting up solar panels on their roofs, such as the city’s Department of Science and Technology with a capacity of 20kWp, the Department of Finance with a capacity of 20kWp, and the people’s committees of Phú Nhuận District with a capacity of 88kWp, District 12 with a capacity of 80kWp, District 10 with a capacity of 45kWp and District 4 with a capacity of 34.5kWp.

By the end of 2022, the city had more than 14,100 rooftop solar power systems, creating a capacity of more than 355MWp and accounting for 7 per cent of the total electricity capacity of the city.

In 2021, with an output of nearly 300 million kWh, solar power in the city earned revenue of about VNĐ600 billion (US$25 million).

According to the city’s Industry and Trade Department, the main energy supply source for HCM City comes from neighbouring areas.

Therefore, the growth of solar power in the city is a wise choice.

According to the project to develop rooftop solar power in the city in the period of 2026-30, the city is going to install solar panels to produce 1,505MWp, accounting for nearly 30 per cent of the total potential for this energy type and satisfying 4.3 per cent of the city’s power demand.

The project’s total investment will be around VNĐ26 trillion ($1.1 billion).

Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngọc, deputy director of the city’s Department of Industry and Trade, said the management of installed solar panels in businesses and households in the city has so far observed Decision No.13/2020/QĐ-TTg by the Prime Minister and Circular No.18/2020 by the Ministry of Industry and Trade.

Accordingly, owners of the chosen building will provide necessary information, namely location, capacity scale, power transmission line, and expected connection point.

Then the power unit considers the power connection and transmission ability to be the foundation for an agreement signed by both sides.

After installation, building owners send related dossiers to the power unit for technical checking, followed by a power purchase contract.

When the contract is signed, power from the installed solar panels can join the city’s electricity network for exploitation.

In the case of any law violations, the power unit must temporarily stop the power connection, prepare a report to the Ministry of Industry and Trade for punishments in compliance with applicable laws.

Bùi Trung Kiên, deputy general director of Electricity of Việt Nam (EVN) - HCM City Branch, said it is important to have a clear installation procedure issued by relevant State agencies for people to follow.

Installation-related issues such as fire prevention, architecture and aesthetics must be handled to develop rooftop solar energy in the city, he said.

It is necessary to identify whether the investment comes from public sources or the Public-Private Partnership (PPP) model under the current financial mechanism. When these details are clear, the procedure can be done quickly, and the city can enjoy more power from rooftop solar panels, he added.

The city’s Industry and Trade Department said it is finishing procedures to install rooftop solar panels on State office buildings.

The paper will be submitted to the municipal People’s Committee for approval. The installation is expected to begin this September.

According to EVN-HCM City, the direction of developing rooftop solar energy is sensible as it takes good advantage of current rooftops citywide and the rich amount of sunshine to harness power to supply daily operations of offices.

Calculations show that after payback, the city can save up to VNĐ400 billion ($16.7 million) on its electricity bills. EVN-HCM City will deliver technical and financial consultation if needed.

Under Resolution 98 by the National Assembly on boosting the growth of rooftop solar power, the HCM City People’s Committee decided on using all technically eligible roofs of office buildings of State administrative agencies and public service units to install solar panels to serve the energy needs of the building itself.

The surplus power is handled in accordance with the applicable law on electricity. Solar panel setting-up must ensure aesthetics, architectural requirements, and the observance of environmental regulations. — VNS