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ASEAN-China Capacity Building on Solar PV+ Utilisation – Day 1

05 September 2022

Online, 31 August 2022ASEAN Centre for Energy (ACE) and China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute (CREEI) are co-organising a series of ASEAN-China Capacity Building on Solar PV+ Utilisation, supported by the ASEAN-China Cooperation Fund (ACCF). 

The capacity building aims to develop the talent pool in the solar sector and create robust discussions among government officials and experts on PV+. The organisation of this event is in line with the ASEAN Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation (APAEC) Phase II: 2021 – 2025, specifically the Renewable Energy programme area.  

This public workshop is held as a three-day event on 31 August, 5 and 6 October 2022. The first workshop was held on Wednesday, 31 August 2022 on Zoom webinar. 

Opening remarks

“Solar PV is no longer a foreign RE source. However, its expansion beyond a mere energy generating source is still a new concept and has yet to be fully explored in ASEAN,” said Esther Lew in opening remarks on behalf of Mr. Asdirhyme Abdul Rasib, Senior Undersecretary for Sustainable Energy, Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources, Malaysia (RE-SSN Chair). “Under the umbrella term of solar PV+, the application of PV system can be integrated into many sectors’ daily activities such as agriculture, fisheries, buildings and ecological management.” 

Mr. Huang Cheng, Director of the ASEAN China Cooperation Fund (ACCF), gave an overview of the current development of China’s PV industry. China has established a policy, made breakthroughs in the industry, and actively promotes PV+ utilisation. “ASEAN has become China’s biggest partner in international renewable energy cooperation. China is awaiting to share the experiences and achievements of energy development and transition with the ASEAN Member States,” he added. 

Following that, Dr Gu Hongbin, Deputy Director General of China Renewable Energy Engineering Institute (CREEI), also shared some of China’s advancements in solar PV: “By the end of 2021, China’s solar PV installed capacity had increased to about 55 gigawatts.” In the past decade, China has gained significance in solar PV development. “We are willing to share with AMS colleagues and contribute to the sustainable development of ASEAN.” 

Dr. Nuki Agya Utama, Executive Director of ACE, shared ACE’s preliminary findings in 2020, which found that the total installed capacity of RE in ASEAN has almost met the APAEC Phase II target. However, solar energy only accounted for a small share. He emphasised the need for ASEAN to step up efforts to accelerate solar PV deployment beyond power generation. “Solar power is the fastest growing form of renewable energy, with clean, safe and inexhaustible benefits. Solar energy development and utilisation are significant in energy transition,” said Dr. Nuki. (Pictured: The panellists, moderator and host of the ASEAN-China Capacity Building on Solar PV+ Utilisation.)Panel session

The first day of the event consisted of one session where four panellists gave presentations centred around the Solar PV+ Potential as Green Recovery Strategy. 

Dr. Ahmad Agus Setiawan, Energy Expert Staff in the President of Indonesia’s Office, presented the Potential Economic Creation from Solar PV Utilisation in Indonesia’s Rural Communities. He shared the project he did with his team during his studies at Curtin University with Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) for the Mondialogo Engineering Award UNESCO – DAIMLER 2007, which included solar water pumping system installation in Indonesia’s local communities.  

Ms. Monika Merdekawati, a Research Analyst at ACE, gave a presentation on ASEAN’s Solar PV+ Utilisation and Potential as Green Recovery Strategy. She presented an overview of ACE’s ongoing project, “Utilisation of Solar PV to Support the Green Economic Recovery in ASEAN Post-Covid-19.” Aside from the three-day workshop, site visits to solar PV+ sites in Indonesia have been conducted as part of the capacity-building programme. There will also be a joint report that will be launched in November 2022. 

ASEAN has encouraged solar PV+ utilisation through its annual ASEAN Energy Awards. In 2021, the Awards received 244 applications on renewable energy and energy efficiency projects, and 44 of those projects were on solar PV+ utilisation. 

CREEI’s Senior Engineer in the New Energy Department, Dr. Wang Shuo, presented China’s Solar PV+ Utilisation and Implementation as Green Recovery Measures. China has combined PV with wind power, thermal power and hydropower. China has also used PV in the agriculture, fisheries, buildings and stockbreeding sectors, even the sewage treatment plan. Aside from that, China also uses PV for social development, realised through the construction of Photovoltaic Poverty Alleviation projects and rural revitalisation. PV+ is rapidly developing in China, but more specific regulations are needed to promote healthy development further.

In his presentation, Mr. Sascha Krause-Tünker, CFO of Next2sun, explained the chances and challenges for agrivoltaic systems (agri-PV). Agri-PV makes several things possible, such as dual land use, PV installation that only covers a smart part of the land and agricultural cultivation without major restrictions. If made vertical bifacial, agri-PV can bring grid efficiency and ecological upgrading to the areas. Currently, agri-PV needs clear regulations to avoid abuse. There is a high risk of “pseudo-agri-PV”, which is conventional PV “greenwashed” as agri-PV. 

After the presentations, a panel discussion and Q&A session were moderated by Mr. Septia Buntara Supendi, Manager of the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency (REE) department at ACE. In the panel discussion were Mr. Boualom Saysanavong, Director Division of Renewable Energy Promotion of Lao PDR and Mr. Watcharin Pachittyen, Engineer at the Department of Alternative Energy Development and Efficiency (DEDE), Thailand.

The panellists shared their insights on policy improvements needed to scale up solar PV+ utilisation further. Mr. Boualom shared that in Lao PDR, there is still a lack of specific policy on tariffs for solar. The country also needs to reduce electricity imports and increase the use of renewable energy. In Thailand, Mr. Watcharin shared that there is an improvement required to make sure that the cost of purchasing electricity for the PV is affordable for the residents to install the systems. The government also has to reconsider their transmission policy to facilitate private sectors. From Ms. Monika’s perspective, the integration of the ASEAN power grid should be pursued, allowing more renewable energy sharing between countries. However, the power grid’s high price becomes an obstacle. As an alternative, smaller solar PV projects could be pursued.

As for the technology and business model needed to scale up solar PV+ utilisation, Dr. Wang and Mr. Sascha shared their expertise. According to Dr. Wang, the technology depends on the sector. As for the business model, there needs to be enough subsidy in the initial stage to develop PV+. Meanwhile, Mr. Sascha thinks strong regulations are necessary to differentiate between conventional PV and agri-PV.

The event concluded with the panellists sharing their perspectives on solar PV+ in the cityscape and their last comments on solar PV+. In conclusion, there is a future for solar PV deployment in the cityscape for countries with advanced regulations and solar PV supply chains. As the main stakeholders, government officials should focus more on more transparent regulations to develop solar PV+. Lastly, lower cost and affordability could improve the popularity of PV.  

The next workshops from the ASEAN-China Capacity Building on Solar PV+ Utilisation series will be held on 5 and 6 October 2022.To register for Day 2 and 3 of the event on 5 and 6 October 2022, click the links below.

Day 2 registration

Day 3 registration

The recording of the event can be accessed on our YouTube channel here.

The Material of the event can be accessed here.

(NAA / MM)