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13 Sep 2018

Renewable Energy Myth vs. Fact Series

In this series, Poyry experts from Asia will be debunking myths about Renewable Energy and try to provide answers to some questions that have been running in your mind regarding #RE.

Myth: Solar PVs will not work at low light levels

By Somesh Shah, Renewable Energy Project Manager

Even today, when solar panels are being installed in every region of the world and electrifying many homes, some people remain apprehensive about solar photovoltaic’s capabilities.

‘Will it work at this light level?’

This is one of the many questions that people ask solar experts these days. So to finally put an end to the myths and speculations, allow us then to answer it with a simple – YES!

As long as there is visible light, even how little it could be – solar panels can produce power. 

Myth : There is too little wind in Southeast Asia

By Eugene Kohar, Manager, Renewable Energy Projects

The tropical beaches in Indonesia-Philippines Archipelagos or the paddy fields in Indo-China would hardly evoke any images of flagged trees.  Rather, strong winds are much more associated with European North Sea coasts or the Mongolian temperate grasslands, where numerous wind farms have already been placed to harness the plentiful resources.

Nevertheless, the current installed capacity of almost 2 GW of wind farms in South East Asia clearly shows there is sufficient wind resource for large-scale wind power development in this tropical all-year-round region.  Many factors give rise to this modest yet growing capacity.  Granted, favorable policies are (partly) behind it when Thailand – despite having one of the lower wind resources – has emerged as the leader of the pack.  But the main game-changer is really technology advancement: in particular, the advent in 2010 of wind turbines designed for low wind conditions, enabling a once “not windy enough” site to operate economically.  

Myth: Renewable Energy is Expensive

By Matthew Heling, Head for Energy Management Consulting, Asia Pacific

Although the costs of many renewable energy technologies are declining, some still believe that “renewable energy is still too expensive”. However, in many cases, that is simply not true.

The price reductions – and current low price levels – of solar PV are perhaps the most impressive. Although price levels vary depending on geography and a variety of other factors, some recent cost data are indicative:

  • In 2017, solar auctions in Mexico and Saudi Arabia produced bids well below $30/MWh
  • Malaysia’s recent solar PV auctions have been far oversubscribed, and produced prices as low as $80/MWh
  • And in Thailand and other countries around the region, end-use customers are increasingly installing solar PV on rooftops, for economic reasons – even without subsidies or significant compensation for exports to the power grid.

Contact information

Matthew Heling
Head of Energy Consulting, Asia-Pacific
Eugene Kohar
Manager, Renewable Energy Projects, Thermal Power
Somesh Shah
Renewable Energy Project Manager