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How much do solar panels cost in Vietnam in 2020?

How much do solar panels cost in Vietnam in 2020?

solar panel cost vietnam cost front EN

We know solar energy prices in Vietnam continue to fall in 2020 and this brings more savings to monthly electricity bill. So how much do solar panel costs on average this year in Vietnam?

Bản dịch.
translation.

Summary:

  1. Solar cost in Vietnam in 2020: Unit cost is 17.600 đ/ Watt on average or 90.000.000 đ for 5 kW solar energy system.
  2. The return for solar investment is around 5 years. It is closing in on the 2-3 years payback period that most house owners in Vietnam expect for investment.

Solar panel system prices in 2020.

The best way to compare is to break down to cost per watt (đ/W). The average solar panel price is 17.600 đ/W and it reflects the fact that there are many more solar installers in Vietnam this year. But the cost depends on the solar panel manufacturer brand! We see that prices vary between 14.000 and 20.000 đ/Watt.

Calculate break-even period here.

Solar energy system size is important!

The bigger the solar panel installation the higher the price. No surprise. However, the unit prices are better with larger system, why? Because solar inverter cost and labour cost are very high for small solar energy systems. So, it pays off to install as much as you can. For example, the table of solar panel prices below shows that it cost as much as 28.000.000 d/ kW if you just want to install 2kW system, while the unit price go down to 16.500.000 if you install 25kW system.

Table 1: The average solar energy price listed by power size:

System SizeUnit PriceSolar panel system cost
2kW28.0M56M
3kW21.5M64M
4kW19.8M79M
5kW18.0M90M
6kW17.6M106M
7kW17.6M123M
8kW17.6M141M
10kW17.6M176M
15kW17.6M250M
25kW17.6M413M
The price are in thousands. So, 28.000 k = 28.000.000 đồng.
23.200 đồng = 1 USD

The prices include VAT, solar panels, inverter, structural mount, wires, circuit breakers, installation and startup.

Cost breakdown of solar panel energy system:

House owners can often choose different equipment brands when selecting a package. Such as solar panel brand, inverter brand, surge protection option, location and specific house fees. It therefore helps to see the cost breakdown of various parts in the following pie chart & table.

Chart 1: pv system cost breakdown for 5kW and 15kW:
solar panel cost vietnam cost breakdown 5kw
solar panel cost vietnam cost breakdown

The pie chart makes clear that a small solar energy system is labour and inverter cost driven, while a big solar installation is solar panel cost driven.

Table 2: Cost breakdown of 5kW and 15kW system.

Cost component5kW Cost15kW Cost
Total:90.000k248.000k
VAT:9.000k25.000k
Solar panels36.000k112.000k
Inverter13.000k37.000k
Wire, distribution box5.000k12.000k
labour, structural mount10.000k37.000k
overheads, project management,…18.000k25.000k
Surge protection deviceAs an optionAs an option
The price are in thousands. So, 90.000 k = 90.000.000 đồng.
23.200 đồng = 1 USD

Solar installation price varies for same 5 kW because …

The average solar installation price gives us an idea what to expect. However, solar installers provide different prices. And if you want to negotiate with solar sellers then you will need to know 2 things:

1/ Solar panel equipment model and inverter brand is important. Each producer has their own way of producing their equipment resulting in different equipment efficiencies. Higher efficient solar panel on your roof means you save more money. Also, a well-known brand is more likely to survive the market than an unknown brand. Therefore, it may be cheaper for you in the long run to invest in a slightly more expensive package.

In general, the most expensive are solar panels from United States, Korea, Japan while the most cost competitive producer brands are from China. The prices in between are solar panels with production facilities  in Malaysia and Singapore. Read here about solar panel product trend 2020.

Table 3: Cost of 5kW and 15kW system by solar panel producer.

Ghi chú:
* Giá là hàng triệu. Vậy, 90 = 90.000.000 đồng.
* 23.200 đồng = 1 USD

Nhà sản xuấthiệu quảgiá 5kWgiá 15kWxuất xứ
điểm chuẩn/ benchmark19.00%090tr250trChina
AEChina
Aslan Ningbo17.60%081tr223trChina
Astro Energy086tr237trChina
AUO095tr266tr
Axitech18.63%084tr231trChina
Canadian Solar19.91%090tr250trChina/ Vietnam
GCL20.20%090tr250trChina
Hanhwa
Heckert Solar091tr253tr
Solarbk IrexVietnam
Ja Solar086tr237trChina
Jinkosolar098tr272trChina
LG High21.40%133tr378trKorea
LG Low19.00%104tr292trKorea
Luxor18.77%084tr231trTBA
Panasonic109tr308trJapan
REC High20.90%119tr336trSingapore
REC Low18.90%090tr250trSingapore
Recom
Solar Edge104tr292tr
Solar Fabrik087tr240tr
SunPowerU.S
Suntech18.60%084tr231trChina
Trina Solar083tr228trChina
Vsun
Weamerisolar086tr239tr
Yingli Solar17.70%087tr241trChina

2/ Your specific house type matter! If you already have 10 degree south faced metal rooftop then it is fairly simple. But if your rooftop has different layers then you will need a customized solution.

Picture: solar installation picture: easy vs. difficult.
solar cost vietnam simple
solar cost vietnam simple
solar cost vietnam complex
solar cost vietnam complex

Is it cheaper to buy solar panels on Lazada and install myself?

This is quite a common question. Loose solar panel prices range between 5.000 – 10.000đ/ watt. But this has not included for inverter, mount and labour yet. So it is cheaper if you are a solar enthusiast and have time to look into the details and you can negotiate a good deal on labour and other equipment.

How much do I save from solar panel investment?

A 5kW system that cost 90.000.000đ will save you 1.200.000.000đ over 30 years. And it takes 5 years to recoup the cost. Is this a good investment?

Firstly, how do we get 1.200.000.000đ savings? A 5kW system faced south and tilted 10 degrees will save you 7.000 kWh in first year in Ho Chi Minh City. The system performance degrades 0.5-1% per year until about 6.000 kWh at year 30. The electricity price increase about 5% every year.You can expect minimum maintenance over 30 years with 1 inverter change.

solar cost vietnam savings graph

However, this is just based on typical example of 4kW system we have at our office in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City (here is article of our its performance since 2017). How strong a solar energy system performs depends on location, tilt, direction, shadow, installer quality and other factors. You can find out more here with suntiki solar calculator.

In terms of VND, 1 kWh of solar energy cost you around 700 đ. However, without solar panels, you currently pay from 1.700 đ – 4.000 đ and over the years this will increase to 8.000 đ which you pay to Vietnam Electricity (EVN). Exactly how much you save depends on what electrical tariff you pay and how much you use. Here is our analysis of EVN’s latest tariffs.

Secondly, what if you save 90M đ instead? Then it would grow to 370M đ in 30 years on 5% interest rate.

So, the actual saving is 1.200/ 370 = 3.3 times the investment. This is not as good as the initial 1.200/ 90 = 13.7 times.

Holding keeping money in the pocket is safe, but investing in solar energy has benefits:

  • Higher savings in long term.
  • Increase house value.
  • We feel happy to be clean & green to environment.

Finally, is solar energy a good investment? The cost of installing is finally low in Vietnam compared to a few years ago. However, 5 years payback is still a bit long for many house owners. But the price continues to decrease because solar energy is an increasing trend to become the top energy source in the world. More people invest because it has become part of a modern house architecture and environment has become a top focus. More people adopting solar in turns drives down the price even more to make it affordable for everyone to be clean & green for the environment.

Top 3 tips for solar shopping

solar cost vietnam 3 tips

1/ The bigger solar installer company the higher the price is. Also, larger companies tend to offer older solar panel models. A recent study in the United States shows that buyers who ask for prices from different companies save 10% or more. Link of page listing all solar installers in Vietnam.

2/ The house owner should monitor the actual installation to make sure the installation is well done. Solar installers have limited experience because the industry is new in Vietnam. Here are our tips of good practice and what to avoid.

3/ In this year 2020, for the above price we should expect 72-cells mono solar panels from a well-known brand. Definitely have access to a monitoring app for great customer experience. Read more about solar panel 2020 trend.  

Calculate break-even period here.

References and our data:

If you have information about solar panel prices, we would appreciate the information in comments below.

… To see more companies with prices, please refer to the Vietnamese version of this article: https://nordicsolarenergy.com/gia-nang-luong-mat-troi-vietnam-2020-la-bao-nhieu/ ….

solar panel performance in vietnam front

Our solar panel system performance in Vietnam

Solar panel performance Vietnam

Solar energy system at Suntiki office in District 3, Ho Chi Minh City.

This post is updated each year. Latest update: 2019.03.30

Solar energy to EVN.
(excess kwh):
1 kWh
Solar energy total:
1 kWh
Solar energy used:
1 kWh
solar panel vietnam performance
Our solar energy installation in District 3, HCMC was connected to the EVN electric grid on 25 September 2017. The system is 14 REC twinpeak 2 solar panels of 285 Watt peak each. The modules power is given in “Standard Test Conditions” or STC at 25 degC, 1000 W/m2 irradiance and air mass AM1.5.
Bản dịch.
translation.

What is the system power?

The combined DC peak power is 14 x 0.285 = 3.990 kW and the area of all modules is 23.38 m2. The actual DC peak power at STC is above the rated power, can go up to 4.025 kW because the panels usually performs above its power rating. See picture of flashdata below. The solar panels have module efficiency of 17.1%.

What is the optimal string strategy to mitigate the shadows:

7 modules are connected in series to make 1 string. The system has in total 2 strings entirely independent from each other. See picture below on configuration. These strings run to 1-phase inverter model SMA Sunny Boy 3.0 kW. The inverter has European efficiency of 96.4%. The inverter is located on the top floor and is connected to the house electrical system via a circuit breaker switch for the lamp. We use double insulated 4mm2 wires (Cadivi copper wires)
solar panel vietnam performance string shadow bitexco
solar panel vietnam performance string shadow
It is usually simpler to have 1 row of 1 string. However, there is water tank that shadows some of the solar panels in the morning. Therefore, we group all the solar panels that gets shadowed into one string. This way we maximize the solar energy output. See picture.

Structural mount: should you hire local construction company instead of full package with solar energy company?

solar panel vietnam performance nec
This is a typical tube house with flat roof of concrete materia. So we use galvanized steel beams for the structural design. Main beams consists of 40x80x1.2mm. Purlins supporting solar panels are 30x60x1.2mm (with the long face lying flat down). We use 6mm thick and 50mm long stainless steel bolts to connect to solar panels via the holes in solar panel frames.
solar panel vietnam performance water tight

It depends on how involved you want to be in the construction and how familiar you are with construction standards. Remember, this installation need to outlast 25 years wear and tear going through major storms rated as natural disasters, typhoons, extensive flooding and more. And the electrical part require an experienced solar engineer to make sure it is installed safe from personal danger as well as making sure the equipment installed correctly.

Calculate break-even period here.
Suntiki Tips for DYI enthusiasts:

1. Nr.1 offender, we call this the “welder’s spree”. We notice some local construction guys think the solar panel is an indestructable metal piece and will weld right next to it either in front or from behind! For obvious reasons, this will destroy pv output and invalidate your warranty!

2. Some guys will suggest welding your solar panels right into the structure. This will destroy solar panels! Mechanically fasten your solar panels is the only sensible way.

3. Be careful handling connected electrical cables under direct sunlight. It will carry live current if negative and positive touch each other.

4. Need to consider watertight construction:

* Cement the ground plate that interface the penetrated roofparts.

* Use Sikaflex Construction to seal the edges of the cement ground for extra protection against rooftop flooding. This material they call “xúc xích” in Vietnam construction lingo.

5. Some people think the equipment in the house connect into solar panels. This is not correct and will not work. The solar panels connects into inverter that connects into the house electrical system.

Are you using the correct circuit breakers?

solar panel vietnam performance circuit breaker nec
Easy9 vs. C60H-DC
solar panel vietnam performance nec

In accordance with American electrical standards (NEC standards), we apply double pole circuit breakers in the following locations:
* between solar panels and inverter. One CB for each string.
* 1 AC circuit breaker between inverter and the house electrical system.

So, in total 3 double pole CBs. That way we can cut electricity from both sides of the inverter for maintenance. Furthermore, a good design have these 2 in consideration:

1. Use Schneider C60H-DC breakers for DC connections (between solar panel and breaker.) These are properly rated for direct current connections. Some shops in HCMC sell this. However, they costs significantly more, 700,000 VND, compared to the Schneider Easy9 breakers that cost 150,000 VND but only good for AC electricity.

2. What amp rating should the CB be? For example, is 20 amp too high?

* Let us apply NEC rule that OCPD minimum size should be maximum circuit current = Isc x 1.56

* In this case, 9.66 x 1.56 = 15.0696 amp

* Therefore, theC60H-DC of 16 amp is sufficient in accordance with NEC.

* Too high amp rating is dangerous because the CB does not break when it needs to! Too low amp rating will trigger CB all the time!

Where to place the inverter?

solar panel vietnam performance sma inverter 2
solar panel vietnam performance sma inverter

We have SMA 1 phase Sunny Boy 3.0 with 3,000 Watt AC. Strategy for inverter location:

* Enough space to meet minimum inverter clearing room requirements

* In cool shaded environment, definitely not exposed to sun.

* Close to solar panels to minimize wire length. Also close to house electrical connection at the floor CB.

* NEC require connecting inverter at the far end of the main distribution panel (MDB). And there are further rules depending on MDB amp rating and solar energy system power. However, in Vietnam, the typical house does not have a centralized MDB. If there is a centralized MDB, it consists of a number of separate circuit breakers as opposed to a central sub panel with many connected circuit breakers. In this case, we recommend deviation from NEC requirement by locating inverter to the nearest floor circuit breaker and make the connection there. This minimize the electrical wire from top floor to bottom but where the connection would still be the same.

* The major startup issue is the ground fault when the inverter is not grounded. If any issue, I recommend to contact a solar engineer rather than your local electrician because it probably an inverter software setting fault rather than electricity fault. But, unless you are electrical engineer with excellent knowledge of inverter, I don’t recommend DYI approach because handling equipment with live electricity is dangerous.

How many kwh do you get for 4,000 Watt?

solar panel vietnam performance graph
solar panel vietnam performance table 5

The benefit of flat rooftop is that we can set ideal tilt, which is 15 degree in Ho Chi Minh City. This gives us a maximum possible of 5,785 kwh first year according to PVGis. This is represented by the blue line in graph. However, the real production in year 2018 is 4,847 kwh which is about 15% less than the maximum possible. This is due to following:
* We switched off pv systems for some days for testing.
* The shadow effect of the tank in the mornings.

From the graph we see that for 4,000 watt DC system we have average month production of 400 kwh. This is with shading effect. On ideal with no shadows, we should get 450 kwh.

The reasons the system is producing less solar energy than the model are:

1/ is due to the water tank shadows. It affects one string in the morning from 7 to 10 am.

2/ we have disconnected the system from time to time to test our battery system.

Calculate break-even period here.

Did you get the correct EVN 2-way meter?

The system began production on 25 September 2017 and were the first solar energy system in District 3 to have EVN meter. However, this meter malfunctioned and we had to replace by 18 January 2018. So unfortunately, our EVN meter is counting from this day, 4 months after our system is installed.

From the below table we see that during period of 18 January 2018 to 02 April 2019 we have:

solar panel vietnam performance table evn

The office has 2x 1hp aircon. At least one aircon is used at all times. The office pays EVN residential progressive rates, and with an electric bill of at least 500,000 vnd/ month, the solar energy offset the highest rates of 2,701 VND/ kwh.

How much money do you save? Now we can answer the question you have been eyeing for!

The quick answer: 450 kwh x 2,086 vnd = 938,700 vnd/ month… but this is not correct.

The real answer:
solar panel vietnam performance table 2

But, wait, it gets better, the above was for 2017. Recently, government came with new incentives for us:

1. 2,086 vnd/ kwh increased for 2018 period.

2. EVN rates just increased electricity prices by 8%. So…, redoing the calculation again with new rates:

New Savings
solar panel vietnam performance table 1

The cost of solar energy system varies from 18,000,000 to 30,000,000 VND/ kW.  

So, for 4,000 watt we have: 72 – 120,000,000 VND.

So, on these number, the low cost solar energy will break even at 5 years and at high cost it will break even in 8 years.

For questions, comment below or contact us at [email protected] or 0907 50 58 53.

Thank you for reading.

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