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Vietnamese utility to build 350 MW

A unit of utility Electricity of Vietnam (EVN) has announced plans to build two projects totalling 350 MW of solar capacity in southeastern Vietnam.

Group subsidiary Power Generation Corp. 3 (Genco 3) wants to build the projects on a 554-hectare plot of land in Ninh Thuận province, according to an online statement by EVN.

It plans to invest VND 9.57 trillion ($421.3 million) in the projects in Phuoc Minh Thuan Nam district. It will start construction in the second quarter of 2018, with completion scheduled by the first quarter of 2021.

Genco 3 said it will integrate the project with an agricultural business, but did not reveal additional details. The company primarily operates thermal and hydroelectric power plants, with a cumulative installed capacity of about 6.5 GW. It supplies about 17% of Vietnam’s electricity.

The Genco 3 plan is the latest in a string of major PV project announcements in Vietnam. In early April, for example, state media reported that Singapore-based solar installer Sinenergy had signed a memorandum of understanding with the authorities in Ninh Thuận province to build 300 MW array. Around the same time, India’s Tata Solar revealed plans to develop a 100 MW project in Bình Phuoc province.

The project announcements coincide with the Vietnamese government’s recent introduction of a feed-in tariff (FIT) program for PV projects. It has set a 20-year FIT of VND 2,086 ($0.091)/kWh and has laid the groundwork for a net-metering scheme.

The government wants renewables to account for 9.9% of total electricity production by 2020. It is shooting for 850 MW of installed solar capacity by 2020. However, cumulative installations remain negligible, at roughly 7 MW by the end of 2016, according to statistics from the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).

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