New energy renewable and efficiency model applied at Tan Son Nhat Airport

The industrial rooftop solar power system on the roof of Saigon Cargo Services Corporation (SCSC) has an installed capacity of 1.1MWp on an area of more than 7,500 square metres, is invested by Copper Mountain Energy JSC (CME). This is the first renewable energy project to be installed at an airport in Vietnam and the largest in the inner area of ​​Ho Chi Minh City.

“CME, with our experience, reputation and capacity, have installed the rooftop solar power system on the warehouse system of SCSC under the ‘full responsibility’ model, including investment, installation, and operation costs,” said Bui Trung Kien, CEO of CME.

The features of an energy project serving the cargo operations of Tan Son Nhat International Airport require the investor (CME) to pay special attention to the design, construction, ensuring the highest quality, safety, and security.

The project meets the rigorous accreditation requirements of AFRY (Sweden), one of the world’s leading energy consultancy firms. The report from AFRY stated that for rooftop solar power projects like SCSC, construction at airports must not only ensure technical quality but also need to commit not to affect air traffic, security, and safety. The consultancy added that this was one of the few projects that they highly evaluate, meeting regional and international requirements.

Remarkably, this is the first project in Vietnam that has been fully licensed regarding the design, review, and installation by the Ho Chi Minh City Police Department of Fire Fighting and Prevention.

Previously, Bui Trung Kien, deputy general director of Ho Chi Minh City Electricity Corporation (EVNHCMC) said: “So far, industrial and commercial rooftop PV systems’ capacity in Ho Chi Minh City has reached nearly 70MWp. Assessments show a potential generation capacity of nearly 1,500MWp, which means the room for solar power development in Ho Chi Minh City is huge. According to EVNHCMC, there were 8,762 grid-connected rooftop solar power systems in the city in 2020, including the residential sector.”

Currently, although EVN has suspended the connection of rooftop solar power projects to sell electricity to the grid to wait for further consideration of grid balancing, it does encourage business models where investors like CME and roof owners like SCSC produce and consume electricity on the spot.

In Ho Chi Minh City, especially in the inner city, there are very few enterprises with large roof areas like SCSC to deploy and install rooftop solar panels while electricity demand in the inner city (especially in Tan Binh district and the airport area) is very high, putting pressure on the city’s grid. Another plus point for this project is the emphasis on the “green economy” development model of Vietnamese enterprises for international visitors transiting and staying at Tan Son Nhat International Airport.

Energy industry experts attending the inauguration ceremony also said that to ensure energy security, Vietnam must quickly mobilise solar power. Rooftop solar power needs to be brought into Ho Chi Minh City, where electricity is needed the most.

According to SCSC, their electricity demand is about 3.7 million kW per year, and the operation of solar rooftop system is expected to help SCSC save VND1.5 billion ($65,220) a year in costs and about $1.4 million over the course of its 25 years of use while also generating significant savings on operating costs.

The SCSC-CME Industrial Rooftop Solar Power project is the first phase of a green energy plan between the two companies. The project will provide 1.5 million kWh of electricity annually, meeting 40 per cent of SCSC’s electricity needs, saving about 15 per cent of energy costs, and reducing emissions by 1.5 tonnes of CO2 equivalents. The business will expand the second phase to achieve 100 per cent clean energy output.

According to Nguyen Quoc Khanh, general director of SCSC, they aim to develop SCSC to become a model aviation cargo terminal in Vietnam and the region, quickly applying renewable energy, utilising the available roof to save energy costs, and building a responsible business image, protecting the environment.

By Hoang Dan