Solar Power Helped Seven Asian Countries Save Billions

A report published by Ember, the Centre for Research on Energy and Clean Air (CREA) and the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) says that solar generation allowed seven Asian countries to avoid billions of dollars in fossil fuel costs during the first half of 2022.

The analysis shows that in the wake of soaring fossil fuel prices, solar power is already contributing to meeting electricity demand in Asia and enhancing energy security.

The contribution of solar generation in seven key Asian countries – China, India, Japan, South Korea, Vietnam, the Philippines and Thailand – avoided potential fossil fuel costs of approximately US$34 billion from January to June 2022. This is equivalent to 9% of total fossil fuel costs during this period.

The report also analysed the growth of solar power over the last decade, finding that five of the top ten economies with solar capacity are now within Asia, including China, Japan, India, South Korea and Vietnam.

Rapid Solar Deployment

Japan saw the second-highest impact, with US$5.6 billion in avoided fuel costs thanks to solar power generation alone.

In India, solar generation avoided US$4.2 billion in fuel costs in the first half of the year. It also avoided the need for 19.4 million tonnes of coal that would have further stressed an already strained domestic supply.

Vietnam’s solar power avoided US$1.7 billion in additional fossil fuel costs. This marks sizable growth: Vietnam’s solar generation was close to zero terawatt hours (TWh) in 2018. In 2022, solar accounted for 11% (14 TWh) of electricity demand from January to June.

In Thailand and the Philippines, where the growth in solar has been slower, the avoided fuel cost is still notable. While solar only accounted for 2% of Thailand’s electricity in the first six months of 2022, an estimated US$209 million of potential fossil fuel costs were avoided. The Philippines avoided US$78 million in fossil fuel spending, despite solar accounting for only 1% of generation.

Similarly in South Korea, solar power generated 5% of the country’s electricity throughout the first half of the year, avoiding potential fossil fuel use costing US$1.5 billion.

Ember’s Asia Electricity Analyst Dr Achmed Shahram Edianto said: “Asian countries have shown that rapid solar deployment is possible, setting a remarkable example and providing valuable lessons learned for their peers in the region. As the prices of solar and storage plummet, and the potential cost savings have started to materialise, solar dominance in Asia now looks to come much sooner than previously expected.”

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