While demand for solar powered machines is increasing sharply in Vietnam, enterprises producing solar powered batteries meet difficulties, many projects have to be halted before implementation, the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper reported, adding that this problem makes the solar powered machine market an unsustainable development.

Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Energy Conservation Center (ECC-HCMC) Huynh Kim Tuoc said that Vietnam has great potential for solar power especially in the central and southern regions of the country, which have many hours of sunshine and high solar radiation intensity.

Thus, the Government’s policy should strive to increase the proportion of renewable energy sources to about 8% of the total primary commercial energy consumption by 2020 and 11% by 2050. To realise this goal, localities, including Ho Chi Minh City have actively cooperated with businesses to support users by up to 1 million per machine.

Thanks to this, in recent years the market for water heaters using solar energy has grown quickly with various providers. The Ministry of Industry and Trade (MOIT) shows that in 2011, the whole country had over 30 industrial works with about 42,000 machines sold each year, an average growth of 20% per year. Particularly, in Ho Chi Minh City, about 30,000-40,000 machines are installed each year, one in every two newly built houses is installed with a water heater using solar energy.

To increase the localisation rate, in 2009, the Red Sun Energy Joint Stock Company was the first solar battery manufacturing company in Vietnam.

In addition, the country has about 90 companies specialising in manufacturing and trading of solar power products, especially water heaters. Several models of products have been exported to neighbouring markets such as Laos, Cambodia and Myanmar.

The number of machines sold is increasing rapidly and people’s awareness of taking full advantage of renewable energy sources has been improved , however the solar power market in Vietnam has left many worried. It is easy to recognize that Vietnam’s product designs are simple and the scale of industrial production is not great so is it difficult to compete with imported products.

Besides, the majority of solar powered machine manufacturing enterprises in Vietnam are just at the early stages of production. For example, vacuum tube technology (which makes up 70% of total products in the market) now has to be imported from China, and the solar power flat plates are also imported from Taiwan and Malaysia.

Additionally, a series of projects producing solar power battery panels in Vietnam are meeting difficulties, which have caused slow production or even stop production. In April 2011, the US First Solar Group had to announce the cessation of a project with an investment of 1.2 billion USD in an industrial zone in southeastern Ho Chi Minh City after the official launch eight months ago.

The Management Board of the Chu Lai Open Economic Zone also admitted the project on solar power battery production by Dong Duong Power Industry Limited Company with an investment capital of 390 million USD had to slacken the implementation progress due to difficulties relating to markets and the manufacturing industry. Most recently, the 300 million USD project carried out by the Worldtech Transfer Investment Joint Stock Company in Thua Thien - Hue has also officially stopped.

At a recent workshop on solar power held by the Ho Chi Minh City Centre for Science and Technology Information, Director of the Ho Chi Minh City Department of Science and Technology Phan Minh Tan affirmed that with solar power technologies Vietnam has not produced, transfer connectivity solutions is necessary.

The technologies must be suitable with Vietnam’s climatic conditions, regardless of the technologies of China, the US or Europe.-VNA