Writer: Vi Tran
On 22 September 2020, the Ministry of Industry and Trade (“MOIT”) issued Official Letter No. 7088/BCT-DL regarding the development of rooftop solar system.
Previously, the Government and MOIT had issued the Decision No. 13/2020/QD-TTg dated 06 April 2020 on incentives for development of solar power in Vietnam; and the Circular No.18/2020/TT-BCT dated 17 July 2020 on solar power project development and standard electricity sale contract applicable to solar power projects. By the Official Letter No. 7088/BCT-DL, MOIT explained in details some regulations of those documents on solar power development as follows:
1. Rooftop solar system
“Rooftop solar system” refers solar system in which solar panels are installed on the roof of the construction. Such system must be less than 1 MW in power, directly or indirectly connected to up-to-35kV power grid.
Rooftop solar system must be on the rooftop of construction with independent utilities, including construction following the Law on Construction and rooftop of house or house-structure construction.
2. Notes for specific rooftop solar system
a) In case of rooftop solar system on agricultural construction, such construction must have rooftop. Additionally, the farm must have rooftop satisfying its utilities to apply the regulations on rooftop solar system.
b) Regarding cases that: (i) the collective rooftop solar systems with more than 1 MW in power at the same place, which is directly or indirectly installed of one or more investor; and (ii) adjacent rooftop solar system bought by an investor with more than 1 MW in power:
- The investor can enter into separate power purchase agreement, and such rooftop solar system shall be exempted from Power operation license.
- The investor who bought such rooftop solar systems shall be transferred the rights and obligations of power purchase agreement. Besides, they need to proceed the procedure of changing agreement’s entity and cannot merge the separate agreement into one.
c) If the investor utilizes the infrastructure’s rooftop of the solar, hydroelectric, thermal power plant for rooftop solar system and requests to install the separate electric meter, Vietnam Electricity – EVN shall consider signing power purchase agreement with such investor if it is satisfied the prescribed laws.
d) The following cases shall not be applicable to the electricity price mentioned in Decision No. 13/2020/QD-TTg:
- Rooftop solar system with less than 1 MW in power and not installed on rooftop of construction with independent’s utilities;
- Rooftop solar system of farms with over 1 MW or 1.25 MWp in power; and
- Rooftop solar system installed in over 35kV voltage level.
To sum up, the Official Letter No. 7088/BCT-DL of MOIT has clarified some unclear points of prevailing regulations. Accordingly, the investors shall have more grounds to invest in rooftop solar system. However, they must be aware of self-responsibility for the technical standards, construction rules and required documents when installing rooftop solar system.
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