Million Green Homes launches in Vietnam to help build low-carbon future
An ambitious new program in Vietnam called Million Green Homes aims to bring solar PV and energy efficiency technologies to a million houses or buildings by 2030, thereby helping the country shift away from its existing fossil fuel dependency.
Nguy Thi Khanh, Director of GreenID, the organization behind Million Green Homes, says that the program was designed to specifically overcome current barriers to renewable energy development in Vietnam.
“Vietnam has huge potential for clean energy, including solar, wind and biogas,” Khanh explained. “A lot of solar farms have been developed over the last 12 months, but we are starting to see issues related to land-use and overcapacity of the grid. At the same time, household solutions haven’t really become popular yet and that has a lot to do with public awareness. Million Green Homes is going to address these issues.”
Khanh describes Million Green Homes as a coordination platform that connects businesses, citizens, state agencies, NGOs and financiers. For example, through the Million Green Homes program, development financiers and government investment programs can unite to create financial packages that will provide funds for energy businesses to scale up.
Consumer awareness campaigns run by partner NGOs will help drive citizens to the Million Green Homes online platform where they can learn about technological solutions, government incentives for these solutions and the companies offering them.
Through the platform, state agencies responsible for regulating grid connections can connect with solar PV companies to help manage grid capacity.
“This is the first true online platform for green products in Vietnam,” Khanh said. “Through the platform, we are making sure that the benefits of clean energy are brought to individuals and not just big investors in solar farms. In that sense, the platform is not just about energy, but public participation and social justice.”
“The platform creates a better environment for sharing a common voice about clean energy in Vietnam,” said Phan Đinh Nam, Director of SolarTech, a private sector member of the platform. “Thanks to the platform, customers can approach the newest clean energy technology, the most effective way.”
Million Green Homes formally launched in October 2019 and it already has 10 energy suppliers and two financial institutions – including a bank and a microfinance institution – registered as partners. A pilot project electrified 90 households in Hanoi, and Khanh says the goal is to reach 400 households by 2020.
As the platform gains recognition, Khanh anticipates an increasing number of technology suppliers offering different energy generation and efficiency solutions to sign on. This will create a broad set of options for consumers to “green” their homes beyond installing solar panels, bringing the target of a million interventions by 2030 within reach.
The involvement of financiers will be crucial to reaching this target, and Khanh expects the potential market size of 1 million green homes to be an enticing scale for various financial institutions.
GreenID, which launched Million Green Homes, is a local partner of the Shifting Financial Flows to Invest in Low-Carbon Development in Southeast Asia (SHIFT SEA) project. Between May 2018 and October 2019, the SHIFT SEA project engaged with a variety of stakeholders through research, high-level meetings, coalitions and capacity building to support change in policy making and investment frameworks in favor of sustainable energy solutions.
SHIFT SEA was funded by the German International Climate Initiative (IKI) and led by a consortium of international energy and climate experts including Sustainable Energy for All (SEforALL), Climate Action Network (CAN), Third Generation Environmentalism (E3G) and Mission 2020 (M2020).