Coro Energy to install 50MW of rooftop solar at Mobile World Investment buildings in Vietnam

LONGi’s Binh Duong rooftop solar project in Vietnam has a capacity of 2MW. Image: LONGi

Coro Energy, a UK-headquartered power company active in Southeast Asia, has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Mobile World Investment Corporation, a Vietnamese electronics retailer, to build 50MW of new rooftop solar capacity atop the latter’s buildings in Vietnam.

The deal comprises two parts, the first of which grants Coro exclusive rights to build the solar panels across 900 Mobile World Investment buildings. This part of the deal will also see the companies sign a corporate power purchase agreement (PPA), where Coro will sell all of the electricity generated at the projects to the Mobile World Investment buildings on which they are built, for the next 14 years.

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The companies did not announce a price cap for electricity sold as part of this PPA, but noted that the price floor for this power is set at US$0.112/kWh.

The second part of the deal could allow for Coro to further expand this portfolio, with the company estimating that, considering Mobile World Investment’s 3,600 locations currently in operation across Vietnam, the company could host up to 360MW of rooftop solar capacity, if panels are installed at each location. However, neither company announced plans for panel installation beyond the MoU described for the first 50MW of capacity.

“I am delighted to announce our strategic tie-up with Mobile World Investment Corporation, as we move at pace towards scale, focused on long-term, solid cash flows and funded largely by industry players we intend to farm into the portfolio,” said Michael Carrington, managing director of renewables at Coro.

The news follows Coro’s announcement of its half-year results for the first six months of 2023, which note that its first operational solar plant in Vietnam, a 3MW project that came online in October 2022, has generated US$116,000 in revenue for the company.

The company also bought a 2.39MW rooftop solar portfolio in Vietnam from KIMY Trading and Service for US$1.3 million; considering the relative scale of the Mobile World Investment projects, Coro’s latest plans could be a move to scale up its solar operations in the country.

The news also follows considerable optimism in the Southeast Asian solar sector in general, particularly the manufacturing sub-sector. A report from the Asian Development Bank, published in August, found that solar manufacturing in the region could create up to six million jobs by 2050, and contribute up to US$100 billion to local economies by 2030. Similarly, in Vietnam in particular, Trina Solar began wafer production at a 6.5GW facility in the country earlier this year.

However, there has been less enthusiasm for the downstream sectors in Southeast Asia in general, and Vietnam in particular, with much of the interest in the solar sector coming in terms of manufacturing potential.

In May this year, the Vietnamese government announced plans to install rooftop solar projects at half of the country’s office buildings and residential structures by 2030. However, with this power set to be delivered directly to the buildings on which the panels are installed, as is the case with Coro’s plans for the Mobile World Investment facilities, as opposed to integrated into a larger energy network, questions remain as to how effectively large-scale solar projects will be incorporated into the Vietnamese energy mix.

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