Malaysia’s solar PV industry poised for robust growth trajectory

THE strong interest to invest in solar photovoltaics (PV) systems in Malaysia has continued unabated with the Sustainable Energy Development Authority (SEDA) having approved more than 350 megawatt (MW) of projects under net energy metering (NEM) initiative in 2020 – the highest in a year since NEM was introduced in 2016.

Even amid the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, movement controls and slowdown in economic activities, SEDA revealed that there were close to 4,000 completed NEM installations towards end-2020 with the entire 500MW NEM quota fully taken up before it reached the December deadline.

Davis Chong Chun Shiong

Subsequently, a further 500MW quota under NEM 3.0 was announced for residential and governmental sectors with application opened from Feb 1 while that for the commercial and industrial sectors from April 1.

“In the first week of April, we had already seen submission of more than 100MW applications from the commercial and industrial sectors,” revealed in-coming Malaysian Photovoltaic Industry Association (MPIA) president Davis Chong Chun Shiong.

“We are not surprised if the entire 300MW allocated for the commercial and industrial sectors are fully taken by the middle of this year. We look forward to more allocation from the government after the full uptake.”

On the other hand, Chong said the large scale solar (LSS) which has been implemented since 2016 had accumulated more than 850MW operational capacity as of 4Q 2020 based on the Energy Commission’s data.

“There are more than 2,400MW of LSS projects awarded so far, including the 823MW in LSS4 awarded recently,” the group CEO of Solarvest Holdings Bhd pointed out.

“In other words, we are seeing very positive growth in both the rooftop segment and LSS segment of our solar PV industry. All this will translate into a significant milestone for Malaysia in terms of sustainability and renewable energy accomplishment.”

According to Chong, Malaysian solar PV industry has progressed significantly between the introduction of Feed-in Tariff (FiT) in 2011 and the NEM 3.0 era today.

In 2019, total installed solar PV capacity in Malaysia surpassed the 1,000MW mark compared to less than 200MW five years before that.

“Such a capacity can help our country to reduce 600,000 tonnes of coal burning annually, amounting to RM200 mil saving based on average Indonesian benchmark coal price of US$78 per tonne in 2019,” he enthused.

Chong who succeeded Chin Soo Mau as the MPIA president and his team will lead MPIA and the local solar PV industry for the next two years.

Established in year 2006 as an initiative under the Ministry of Energy, Water and Communications, MPIA is a non-profit organisation dedicated to the promotion of solar

energy and consists of members from the local solar supply chain, including manufacturers, service providers, system integrators, consultants, insurance providers, legal professionals, training providers and academicians. – April 12, 2021

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