Solar power will light up the nation hinh anh 1A solar power plant in Con Dao island (Photo:VNA)

As traditional sources of energy like coal and petroleum are quickly becoming exhausted, resulting in high prices and unstable supply, Vietnam is seeking renewable resources and turning to solar power.

According to the National Power Development Plan for 2011-2020 with a vision towards 2030 ( the seventh Electricity Planning) , the country’s total demand for electricity is forecast to increase nearly 10 percent annually between 2016 and 2020.

Vietnam has about 1,400-3,000 hours of sunshine a year and the total amount of radiation ranges from 230-250 kcal/cm2, which, experts said is favourable for power production and diversification.

The smooth development of solar power is expected to accelerate the rural electrification programme to light up most rural households by 2020.

Vietnam has taken steps towards solar power production with the construction of a 19.2 MW solar power plant in Mo Duc d istrict, the central province of Quang Ngai last August.

Once operational in July 2016, the 900-billion- VND ( 41 million USD ) station will supply 28 million kWh to the national power network annually.

The biggest barrier to solar power development lies with exploitation cost, as necessary technologies and equipment are mainly imported from foreign countries. Most of the solar power projects in Vietnam are sponsored or use foreign loans.

Only a handful of organisations, research institutes and universities are currently engaged in this field. Meanwhile, the production and application of solar power are still new concepts to businesses and individuals.

Another reason for the unpopularity of solar power is that Vietnam has yet to have neither official documents stipulating the connection of renewable energy to the national electricity grid nor relevant policies.

Given this, Deputy Prime Minister Hoang Trung Hai, head of the National Steering Committee for the seventh Electricity Planning, recently urged the Ministry of Industry and Trade (MoIT) to offer investment, tax and price incentives for the development of renewable energy, including solar power.

Accordingly, investors are encouraged to mobilise financial support from organisations and individuals at home and abroad to implement solar power projects in line with law.

Apart from credit incentives, the projects are exempt from import taxes when purchasing materials or semi-finished products from foreign countries in order to create fixed assets.-VNA