Vietnam Was Likely the Third-Largest Solar Market in 2020

This article first appeared on the BNEF mobile app and the Bloomberg Terminal.

  • Total rooftop solar capacity probably exceeds 9 gigawatts
  • Over 6 gigawatts installed in December 2020 alone

Vietnam’s rooftop solar companies delivered a last-minute boom in time to meet the December 31 solar feed-in tariff deadline. News agencies reported that cumulative capacity totaled 9.3 gigawatts in 2020, an eight-fold increase from just 378 megawatts in 2019. This is supported by Chinese export data, which shows $1.8 billion (about 9GW) of solar products imported by October 2020. Our previous central forecast for Vietnam’s 2020 total solar build was 3.4GW.

The 9.3GW figure would mean over 6GW of rooftop solar were built just in December 2020, out of which 4.6GW were commissioned in the last week of the year alone. State utility Vietnam Electricity Group (EVN) reported that rooftop solar installations totaled just 2.9GW in November 2020 and 4.7GW on December 25, 2020.

The future of the FiT is uncertain, and EVN has announced it will not sign any more power purchase agreements before a new scheme is introduced. We expect a slowdown in 2021 even if new legislation is finalized, as grid issues will need to be resolved.

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