Vietnam Set to Make Aquaculture Farming Sustainable with Solar Energy

Two German institutes together with other companies signed an agreement to implement the project in Mekong Delta


Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH and the German research institute, Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems (ISE), have signed an agreement together with other partners from the private and public sector to implement a new project of combining aquaculture farming with solar photovoltaics in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta.

Within the ‘Solar-Aquaculture Habitats as Resource-Efficient and Integrated Multilayer Production Systems’ (SHRIMPS) project, solar modules will be installed on the roofs of shrimp greenhouses under a pilot project in Bac Lieu province.

In a press statement issued by MOIT/GIZ Energy Support Program, it was added that the project would effectively make use of the farming land, reduce freshwater consumption, wastewater and carbon emissions while keeping an optimal water temperature for shrimp growth as well as improve working conditions for the employees at the facilities.

Tobias Cossen, project director on behalf of GIZ, said, “The project offers a practical solution to double the use of land to produce both food and energy in Vietnam, and helps to achieve greater resilience of local farms to climate change impacts.”

He also stated that the team would monitor the installation of the pilot project. The next step will be the transferring of the technology to small and medium-sized aquaculture businesses in other provinces. The team also plans to start similar projects in other Southeast Asian nations.

In 2018, Fraunhofer ISE, on behalf of GIZ, had conducted a pre-feasibility study on the potential for combining shrimp farming with photovoltaics. It also tested the technical and commercial feasibility of dual land use for solar power generation and commercial aquaculture on a specific shrimp farm.

According to the release, the project is a part of Germany’s research cooperation efforts in Vietnam. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) is funding the project within the framework program “Research for Sustainable Development” (FONA3) by supporting the research and development activities of the partners Fraunhofer ISE, the German Thünen Institute of Fisheries Ecology, SMA Sunbelt Energy GmbH and Suntrace GmbH.

Participating from the Vietnamese side was Ho Chi Minh City’s Nong Lam University, the Vietnamese Institute of Energy, a major Vietnamese shrimp production company, and Bac Lieu’s Department of Agriculture and Rural Development.

With an increase in annual electricity demand of around 10%, Vietnam cannot achieve a reduction in greenhouse gas emissions of between 8% and 25% by 2030 in compliance with the

Paris Climate Agreement (COP 21) if it does not promote the growing use of renewable energy simultaneously. Meanwhile, groundwater is increasingly used for aquaculture farms in the Mekong region due to more surface water pollution, together with water abstraction for domestic and agricultural purposes.

“Therefore, using renewable energy can help the aquaculture sector in Vietnam alleviate the pressure on land and sustainably develop and protect the environment,” states the company statement.

Recently, the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group, announced that it would provide a loan to the Vietnam Prosperity Joint Stock Commercial Bank (VP Bank) to help expand its lending capacity to small and medium enterprises (SME) for climate-friendly projects.

In March 2020, Vietnam’s SkyXSolar announced that it signed a joint venture agreement with SAIGONTEL to build and operate rooftop solar projects for industrial facilities within the industrial parks affiliated with the latter in Vietnam. The IFC said this was its first green loan to a bank in Vietnam, where most of the near-term multimillion-dollar climate investment potential was in renewables and infrastructure.