FITs Drive 9,000 MW Boom in Vietnamese Solar Rooftops

By Toby Couture

Vietnam has just witnessed a veritable solar tsunami, with installations jumping from about 400MW in 2019 to 9.500MW by the end of 2020. This is unprecedented for the rooftop solar PV market in any market I can think of – other markets like Japan, China, and Germany have each seen annual deployment levels between 7-15GW, but significant shares were made up of large ground-mounted systems.

While voices will no doubt emerge criticizing this as another case of “too much, too fast” in the renewables industry, and fears will grow that this “boom” will be followed by a “bust”, one fact is clear when looking at jurisdictions’ renewable energy strategies around the world: the slow and steady mentality favored by utilities and governments is failing to deliver.

In order to tackle climate change, we need massive volumes of investment. Boom years like the one Vietnam has just witnessed are going to be part of it – policymakers in Vietnam should resist the temptation to clamp down, and chart a new trajectory for the power system that recognizes the tremendous role that rooftop solar PV has to play – under the right pricing conditions, there is the potential for a win-win-win: for ratepayers, for the utility, and for the climate.

See Vietnam rooftop solar records major boom as more than 9GW installed in 2020.

Toby Couture, E3 Analytics, is one of the world’s foremost authorities on renewable energy policy, including feed-in tariffs. He’s done extensive work in Vietnam, Africa, Europe, and the Americas.