Southeast Asia is one of the fastest growing regions worldwide by both gross domestic product and electricity demand. Solar photovoltaics (PV) will play an increasingly important role as the region strives to decarbonize and meet rising energy demand. High solar resource potential, a significant cost drop for installed PV in the region (about 45 percent between 2012 and 2016), and favourable policies have allowed Southeast Asia to surpass other regions in solar capacity growth, from approximately 23 GW in 2020 a projected 241 GW by 2030. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) deems solar “the flagship resource for ASEAN’s decarbonization”. Two countries in particular–Vietnam and Malaysia–have led the way in solar offtake in recent years and installed more new PV capacity than others in the region in 2020. They are the world’s second and third largest manufacturers of solar PV modules and have significantly lowered barriers to utility-scale and residential solar adoption. However, their diverging approaches to electricity markets, renewables integration, and distributed energy resources have resulted in very different outcomes for solar growth. In many respects, Malaysia’s holistic approach to solar pricing, grid modernization, and regional interconnectivity provides lessons for both Vietnam’s solar market and the broader ASEAN region.
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- RIFS Policy Briefs
Burlinghaus, E. (2023). Challenges and Opportunities for the Southeast Asian Solar Market: Lessons From Vietnam and Malaysia. RIFS Policy Brief, 2023(1).
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