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SolarQuarter South East Asia magazine had an exclusive conversation with Kate Covill, CEO, ShireOak International Indonesia, and got some great insights on what improvements are required for Rooftop projects in Indonesia. She also spoke about what have been some key learnings for the company this year, which factors have contributed to the company’s growth, and what technologies they are adopting.
What major improvements are required in rooftop solar projects in Indonesia?
a) Solid and timely actioned PLN processes, to approve client applications or other regulatory work in accordance with regulation 26 will reassure investors new legislation is being followed
b) Currently PLN is proposing to limit applications to 10/15% of the DAYA which has come as a bit of a shock to us all. Reducing proposed installations by 80% in cases, all of which meet regulation 26 with no overspill. These types of changes will make global investors nervous, as it is not previously mentioned in the regulation.
c) The acceptance of overspill up to an approved %, so the production of green energy increases for Indonesia driving down costs for the customers and the price of green energy to produce, could be a smart move forwards. Mirroring Vietnam and other Asian nations, 20% overspill would seem sensible. This would provide PLN electricity to create a fantastic green tariff product for its customers.
d) Manage carefully the 40% local production. This is a wonderful regulation but needs to be managed cautiously. As if it is implemented too early it will restrict the entire infrastructure of investment and solar adoption for Indonesia and could adversely impact and slow down the desired local manufacture of tier 1 modules which we all want to see. If we reach approx 2.5Gig installed capacity with 10Gig + to follow in the next few years, the big players who are bankable will look to manufacture in Indonesia to meet the requirement. But if we stifle the market with 40% too early, the desired GigWp will never be reached to kick start everything.
e) We welcome PLN into the market as a developer alongside us all and wish to operate adjacent to them with the same opportunities. This will increase investment stability across the industry and accelerate the growth that is needed in the sector. The opportunities for additional revenue sources for PLN through embracing solar are huge, to name a few: – an internationally attractive green energy product to entice overseas manufacturers and digital players needing to meet CSR targets, energy security, development revenues, reduced reliance on subsidies, stable energy supply for remote areas funded by global investors releasing pressures on PLN’s purse, reduced reliance on diesel and generators and finally help meet COP26 commitments towards being carbon neutral by 2060 if not before.
Which factors have contributed to the growth of rooftop solar in Shire Oak International?
a)President Jokowi’s published commitment toward renewables has kick-started the economy in this sector and significantly raised the interest of investors in Indonesia.
b) The positive embracing by Ministers of solar and driving opportunities equally for all has also de-risked the opportunity for global investors such as ours.
What are the current challenges and opportunities especially in the rooftop solar sector in Indonesia?
The answer to the first question covers most of the challenges.
But the importation processes also need to be clear and swift. Equipment internationally ordered or internally shipped needs to be installed rather than warehoused which will occur if importation is difficult and we have to stockpile to accommodate delays, adding to costs and creating delays.
What are some smart technologies being adopted in the Solar sector by Shire Oak International?
a) We are researching all options for energy storage, as this will be key for an island nation.
b) In the future we wish to be permitted possibly to over construct to produce excess energy to support for example hydrogen production in areas where local production will bring regional economic gain. Also when storage costs drop, to be able to support the 24hr energy demand over diesel generators.
c) Smart grid technology will also be key for small communities that will have a blend of supply.
d) Floating solar has kicked off well and I hope it stands up to the wind strengths, this will be key for those developers and investors.
The solar sector is constantly evolving with time. Is there anything that you are looking forward to in the next five years?
a)The reduced use of rare, expensive, or polluting elements in module manufacture is key.
Greater recycling when the time comes regards to end of life management. We cannot have mountains of old modules.
b)Desalination has caused mountains of salt and brine runoff causing untold devastation, Solar must not fall this way.
c)Accelerating and increasing employment in this sector and enticing students into the arena due to new degrees possibly being developed to enhance expertise.
How has the year 2022 been so far for Shire Oak International? Any key learnings?
We have 200MWp in our rooftop pipeline for 2022 and 500MWp for GM under development. So it has been a busy year so far and I hope continues that way, I am confident working together we will all overcome the hurdles mentioned above. Our pipeline has been achieved through open collaboration with PLN and ministerial departments. Legislation is hard to follow at times and difficult when it changes and the consequences of those changes are not mooted openly but we will all manage if we work together
We are thrilled to be working closely with the local Chambers of Commerce in Indonesia, the DIT situated at the Embassy the Indonesian Solar Trade Association, and all the organizations in the system that are supporting renewables for Indonesia. The Solar Trade Association led by Fabby Tumiwa IESR will be key to the interface between all those involved in the legislation, development, and operation of solar, I suggest all international and local developers and companies operating in solar in Indonesia join up.