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EGEB: Vietnam’s solar leap surprises, Oxford PV raises more funds, wind farm bird study, and more

In today’s EGEB:

  • Vietnam’s huge leap in solar installations catches some observers by surprise.
  • A Thai group is taking over two Vietnamese solar farms.
  • Solar-cell producer Oxford PV earns millions more in funding.
  • A wind farm will observe the flight patterns of birds in a first-of-its-kind study.

Electrek Green Energy Brief: A daily technical, financial, and political review/analysis of important green energy news.

In May, Vietnam announced goals to complete 61 new solar projects by the end of June. A lofty goal — and a race to get the job done before tariff changes — but the country seems to be following through.

A new report from pv magazine shows Vietnam passing Australia in commissioned utility scale solar, noting that “a staggering 4.46 GW of connected PV capacity in Vietnam at the end of June came as a surprise to many.” The country went from 10 MW of operational solar PV to 4 GW in a year.

While impressive, there are still concerns, as Rystad analyst Minh Khoi Le had previously said:

The main concern in Vietnam is the risk of overload once these plants are completed. EVN, the country’s only utility company, will need to find more free space in the grid, or these plants will not be producing to their designed capacity.

Thai influence

Also in recent Vietnam solar news, Thai industrial group B. Grimm Group has started operating two of the country’s — and Southeast Asia’s — largest solar farms.

Nikkei Asian Review reports that the two plants, which have a combined capacity of 677 MW, just came online last month. B. Grimm Power president and CEO Preeyanart Soontornwata said:

We see huge opportunities in Vietnam, considering the country’s high GDP growth forecast above 6.5% and very strong [foreign direct investment] growth, which is likely to continue in the following years. The electricity demand is projected to hike to almost 130 GW in 2030 from less than 50 GW last year.

Oxford funding

Solar cell manufacturers Oxford PV announced last week that it has secured £65 million in a Series D funding round.

Oxford has already announced plans to bring its promising silicon-perovskite cells to market by 2020, something that CEO Frank Averdung commented on when discussing the new round of funding in a company release:

The success of our funding round and the quality of the new investors we have attracted validates the commercial readiness of our technology. We now have the funds to move into manufacturing and accelerate market introduction. The production line we are installing in Germany, to manufacture perovskite-on-silicon tandem solar cells, will be the first of its kind anywhere in the world. This is a significant moment for Oxford PV and our perovskite photovoltaic technology.

For the birds

While wind turbines and birds are often seen as mortal enemies, researchers are doing their part to ensure they can live in harmony.

A new study announced by Swedish energy group Vattenfall will use state-of-the-art, radar-camera-based digital technology at the European Offshore Wind Deployment Centre (EOWDC). Believed to be the first of its kind, it will monitor gannet, kittiwake, and large gulls during the summer breeding season. Chris Jackson, senior environmental specialist at Vattenfall, said:

Vattenfall encourages and enables research and development to support the continued growth of the offshore wind industry. The EOWDC, with its focus on innovation and research, is the perfect place to do it. The evidence gathered by this research will help decision makers to support the sustainable growth of the offshore wind industry, which is particularly important at a time when the sector is readying itself for rapid expansion.

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