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Limit on capacity continues to hinder solar panel installation

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HCMC – With the rising prices of electricity pushing many enterprises and households to install rooftop solar panels that partly help reduce electricity bills, the cap on solar power capacity is hindering the process.

On June 22, at a regular Government meeting to discuss the development of the national grid and energy sources, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc stressed that all individuals, households and firms engage in energy generation.

Le Ngoc Anh Minh, chairman of Pacific Group, told The Saigon Times that the firm installed a rooftop solar panel system for its plant in Binh Duong Province last year, which produces 4.7 kilowatt hours (kWh) each day, helping it reduce its electricity bills.

As such, even though the firm seeks to install more rooftop solar panels for its facility, the regulation allowing it to only install solar panels with a capacity of less than one megawatt prevents it from further investing in solar power generation, Minh said.

If the firm installs solar panels with a larger capacity, it must seek approval from the Ministry of Industry and Trade, hindering several firms that consume much energy from installing solar panels.

He suggested that instead of the Ministry of Industry and Trade, the State should task local power suppliers with granting licenses for the installation of solar panels, which will also help ease the pressure of power shortages.

While many large-scale firms are facing the capacity-limit bottleneck in solar panel installation, medium and small enterprises have benefited from the installation, which has significantly helped reduce their electricity bills.

Nguyen Vu Thanh Loan, director of Bao Tran Trading Service Manufacturing Company in HCMC’s outlying district of Hoc Mon, said the firm has installed a solar panel system with a capacity of 10 kW at a cost of VND22 million per kW.

The firm’s electricity bills have reduced sharply and, so, it is planning to install more solar panels with a capacity of 20-30 kW in the coming months.

Many households have also caught up with the trend of installing solar panels to cut their electricity bills.

Nguyen Thi Thu Huong, residing at 8/10 Bui Huu Nghia Street in Can Tho City’s Binh Thuy Ward, said that her electricity bills have reduced to VND150,000 each month since solar panels with a capacity of 3 kW were installed last year. Before the installation, her family spent VND1.2 million on power consumption a month.

According to the State-run Vietnam Electricity Group, over 215,000 customers saw their power consumption in May skyrocket by 300% compared with the previous month, while nearly one million customers reported a 50% rise. Many people have been using cooling devices regularly since the dry season began in May, leading to high electricity bills.

By Le Anh

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