Vietnam to install ‘first large-scale floating solar PV panels’

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has signed a US$37 million loan agreement with Da Nhim–Ham Thuan–Da Mi Hydro Power Joint Stock Company (DHD) to finance the installation of a 47.5 MW peak floating photovoltaic (PV) solar power facility on the man-made reservoir of DHD’s existing 175 MW Da Mi hydropower plant.

The project marks the first large-scale installation of floating solar PV panels in Vietnam and the largest installation in Southeast Asia, according to ADB.

“This project will help to boost the share of renewable energy in Vietnam’s overall energy mix and decrease the dependence on imported fossil fuels such as coal,” said Christopher Thieme, deputy director general of ADB private sector operations department. “The pairing of these two clean energy technologies - hydropower and solar - is a simple but a highly innovative achievement, which can be replicated elsewhere in Vietnam and across Asia and the Pacific.”

DHD, a subsidiary of the Vietnam Electricity (EVN) Power Generation Corporation 1, currently owns and operates four hydropower plants: Da Mi (175 MW), Ham Thuan (300 MW), Da Nhim (160 MW) and Song Pha (7.5 MW). DHD’s total generation capacity is 642.5 MW, about 1.7% of Vietnam’s total generation capacity.

“We are proud to be the first company in Vietnam to construct a floating solar power plant on a hydropower reservoir,” said Nguyen Trong Oanh, chairman of the board of DHD. “This project aligns with DHD’s strategy of investing in renewable energy to decrease dependence on fossil fuel, contribute to energy security, mitigate climate change, and promote environmental protection and sustainable socioeconomic development. Hydropower reservoirs in southern Vietnam have vast solar power potential. Capitalising on the strong relationship between EVN and ADB, we have worked together to catalyse a new source of power for the country.”

The financing package includes a US$17.6 million loan from ADB’s ordinary capital resources. This is supplemented by US$15 million of blended concessional cofinancing provided by the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia and its follow-on fund, the Canadian Climate Fund for the Private Sector in Asia II. These funds were established by the Government of Canada to encourage private investment in climate change mitigation and adaptation projects in Asia and the Pacific.

The package also includes a US$4.4 million parallel loan from the Leading Asia’s Private Infrastructure Fund (LEAP), supported by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) through a US$1.5 billion equity commitment. LEAP is focused on delivering high quality and sustainable private sector infrastructure projects that reduce carbon emissions, improve energy efficiency, and offer accessible and affordable health care, education, and communication services to ADB’s developing member countries.