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In light of our upcoming trade mission to Vietnam & Thailand, we've released a complimentary white paper, in close collaboration with Mott MacDonald. The white paper focuses on benchmarking PV plant generation costs in the Southeast Asian region. Below you'll find the first pages as preview. Complete the form at the bottom of this page to immediately download the full paper.

 

by Nonthi Cherdsanguan and Poom Smithtinand, Renewable Energy Project Engineers, Mott MacDonald, Thailand

INTRODUCTION

The solar PV market in Southeast Asia (SEA) has enjoyed significant growth during the past 5 – 7 years, focused in Thailand, the Philippines, and Malaysia.  Other nascent PV markets in SEA such as Myanmar, Indonesia, and Vietnam are now also starting to pick up pace. 

This paper assesses Levelised Cost of Electricity (LCOE) for utility-scale solar PV projects within the SEA market, based on variations in irradiation and benchmark cost data gathered from Mott MacDonald’s support to more than 2.5 GWp of solar PV projects in SEA. 

Figure 1: Overview of solar irradiation conditions in SEA Source: GeoModel Solar Data

Figure 1: Overview of solar irradiation conditions in SEA
Source: GeoModel Solar Data

SOLAR IRRADIATION – Overview of Southeast Asia

Annual average Global Horizontal Irradiation (GHI)[1] in SEA countries, clustered around the equator, typically ranges between 1,400 – 2,000 kWh/m2/year, which compares to a more typical range of 1,000 – 1,600 kWh/m2/year in extreme latitudes.  An overview of solar irradiation conditions in SEA is shown in Figure 1 below.

The variation of irradiation from country to country, shown in Figure 1, depends primarily on latitude, cloud conditions, topographical and geographical features. 

For instance, in Thailand where most of the area is flat and inland, irradiation conditions do not vary significantly between adjacent districts.  On the other hand, in the complex topography and island geography of the Philippines, we observe that irradiation conditions may vary up to 20% within a close proximity of 20 – 30 km between sites located in different side of an island mountain chain, due to micro-climatic features such as cloud formation and wind patterns. 

For the purpose of this paper, quantified satellite mapping (i.e. SolarGIS iMaps application) has been used as the reference irradiation data source. In brief, “iMaps” is a product of SolarGIS which provides an interactive map that allows the user to identify the GHI across the globe with a spatial resolution of up to 90m.  Similar to the time-series SolarGIS climData (© 2016 GeoModel Solar), the GHI retrieved from iMaps is calculated using satellite imagery and atmospheric & geographical inputs.

Table 1 below demonstrates the range of solar irradiation for five example SEA countries considered further in this paper. 

 
Table 1 Range of solar irradiation in each selected coun

Table 1 Range of solar irradiation in each selected coun

 

FEED-IN-TARIFF SCHEME - Thailand, Myanmar, Vietnam, Philippines and Malaysia

Feed-in-Tariffs (FiTs) and similar incentive schemes currently remain the main driver of the SEA solar PV market.  Other incentive schemes, including tax concessions, also play an important role but are not the focus of this assessment. 

For each country the FiT available up to March 2016 is shown in Table 2 below. 

 
Table 2 FiT schemes as of March 2016

Table 2 FiT schemes as of March 2016

 

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[1] GHI is the terminology used to define the magnitude of irradiation.  This represents the amount of energy for the area of 1 square metre.  Typically, the unit is kWh/m2.


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