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Making the solar industry viable

Making the solar industry viable

16 Sep 2022

In early August, the Energy Commission extended the solar power purchase agreements (PPAs) for the Large Scale Solar Mentari projects to 25 years, from 21 years previously, as soaring solar panel prices threatened the viability of the projects.

Later in the month, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob introduced a quota of 600MW to cater to those seeking to generate and sell solar energy directly to corporations.

The government is also mulling a “solar park” project — similar to the one in Australia — to centralise solar assets in an area with high solar irradiance. This would allow a better sharing of the grid and related infrastructure to improve efficiency.

All these are welcome news to the industry. However, many details have yet to be ironed out in ensuring a smooth progression of Malaysia’s solar industry. These range from future project bids to industry policies, as well as steps to address the low take-up rate of the rooftop solar quota among residential consumers and government agencies.

How can we accelerate renewable energy (RE) adoption? What do industry players recommend?

The Edge spoke to Malaysian Photovoltaic Industry Association president Davis Chong Chun Shiong, Cypark Resources Bhd group chief executive officer Datuk Daud Ahmad, Samaiden Group Bhd group managing director Chow Pui Hee, Solarvest Holdings Bhd MD Lim Chin Siu, and Uzma Bhd new energy division chief Dr Ahmad Khalid Md Khairi to get some answers.

It is worth pointing out that Malaysia officially banned RE exports in October 2021, just days before Singapore called for proposals seeking to import 4GW of foreign RE generation by 2035.

At a time when governments across Southeast Asian countries are competing intensely to attract investments in RE, should cross-border exporting of RE be a priority for Malaysia at the moment?

The Edge also spoke to Tenaga Nasional Bhd chief new energy officer Mohd Zarihi Mohd Hashim.

In his first media interview, Mohd Zarihi highlighted that the national utility group is working on corporatising its new energy division in the next 12 to 18 months, as it plans to bring in new investors to take up a minority stake to fund its ambitious RE push overseas.

In addition, The Edge has also compiled an infographic which shows Malaysia’s RE resource potential but also the challenges to RE development.

Source: The Edge Markers