Jakarta, July 26, 2023 – The Indonesia Solar Summit 2023, hosted by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and co-hosted by think tank Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), affirms the commitment to accelerate solar deployment in the country. Solar energy has made it significantly into Indonesia’s NZE pathway, projected at 61% of total electricity sources by 2060. A previous separate study by IESR placed solar energy as the backbone for a zero-emission energy system by 2050.
Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources, Arifin Tasrif, mentioned solar energy is a crucial strategy to achieve 23% of the renewable energy mix within the next two years before 2025. However, he also emphasized the significance of having access to technology and funding to successfully utilize solar energy and meet the renewable energy mix target. According to him, investment in solar energy will easily flow into Indonesia if there is a significant demand in the country.
“There are two crucial factors that must be considered to accelerate the use of solar energy. The first is the availability of technology, which requires support from the industry. The second is the availability of international and domestic coverage that needs to be mobilized. The target for the renewable energy mix is 23% by 2025, but currently, it only stands at 12.5%, leaving only two years to achieve this goal. Additionally, the aim is to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by approximately 290 million tons in 2030, which has increased to 358 million tons. To achieve this, various efforts are being made, including de-dieselization programs and converting fossil-fueled motorized vehicles to electric motors, to absorb emissions,” said Arifin.
The progress towards solar energy adoption in Indonesia remains slow. The actual installed capacity of solar PV in 2022 is 271.6 MW or far below the plan of 893.3 MW, based on data from the Directorate General of New, Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (EBTKE), MEMR. There are several factors that have hindered widespread adoption of solar energy, including complications with land ownership, lack of local experience and unattractive tariffs. Whereas, the latest technical potential is at 3,295 GWp, acceleration of solar deployment will be critical in achieving renewable energy and NZE targets. In the short term, 18 GW of solar energy is needed to attain a 23% renewable energy mix target by 2025, with an investment value of US$14.1 billion, based on BloombergNEF and IESR study.
With the announcement of Just Energy Transition Partnership (JETP) last year at G20 Summit 2022 in Bali, Indonesia – a comprehensive investment and policy plan is currently drafted in consultation with relevant stakeholders, covering early coal retirements, just transition measures, and acceleration of renewable energy development. The US$20 billion partnership aims to peak Indonesia’s power sector emission by 2030, and solar energy has become a significant part of the planning due to its techno-economic advantage and high potential for greenhouse gases emission reduction. The first version of such a plan will be unveiled in August 2023.
Rachmat Kaimuddin, Deputy Minister for Infrastructure and Transport, Coordinating Ministry of Maritime and Investment Affairs revealed that to build solar energy industrialization, Indonesia needs to prepare the demand first.
“Reflecting in this, we intervene in the country, for example through JETP, how we minimize dependence on fossil energy, can be in several forms such as reducing the output of coal-based power plants and creating new demand,” he explained.
He also emphasized that Indonesia’s cooperation with Singapore for green electricity requires that solar modules and batteries must be produced in Indonesia, so that the demand that arises becomes a trigger for the PLTS industry in Indonesia to form.
“We don’t want to only import in the future. We hope that a domestic industry will be formed while we are in the process of energy transition,” he said.
Antha Williams, who leads Bloomberg Philanthropies’ Environment Program stated that developing a homegrown solar industry is a key component to advancing Indonesia’s transition to clean, affordable, and reliable energy.
“By cultivating international partnerships to mobilize capital and scale domestic solar manufacturing capacity, Indonesia has the potential to realize its net-zero energy pathway goals through rapid deployment of clean energy projects. Bloomberg Philanthropies welcomes the opportunity to support Indonesia’s goal of becoming a leader in solar energy development.”
Fabby Tumiwa, the Executive Director of IESR, stated that over the last two years, a new market has emerged, utilizing solar PV not only for selling electricity but also for producing new value-added products, such as green hydrogen and ammonia. Based on IESR data, there are currently 10 green hydrogen and ammonia projects that have been initiated since last year, intending to use solar energy as their primary electricity source. These projects are currently in the study phase and are expected to be realized within the next 2-3 years. Fabby also pointed out that experiences from various countries, including some developing ones, demonstrate that constructing Gigawatt-scale solar power plants within a year is an achievable feat.
Fabby highlighted three essential supporting factors to encourage the development of solar PV, “Firstly, it requires political will and strong, active leadership from the government, along with the establishment of transparent and sustainable policies and regulations. Secondly, there is a need for the development of an integrated ecosystem, which involves defining quality standards and guarantees for solar modules, ensuring the availability of qualified and trained human resources. Lastly, it is crucial to foster the growth of an integrated and competitive solar PV manufacturing industry.”
Indonesia’s Chairmanship in ASEAN 2023 presents an opportunity to engage the public and raise awareness about the benefits of solar PV adoption. Public outreach campaigns, educational programs, and community-driven initiatives can inform people about the environmental advantages, economic benefits, and energy independence that come with solar PV usage. Building public support and understanding can facilitate smoother and more widespread adoption of solar PV technology. Besides that, Indonesia’s Chairmanship can set a precedent for solar PV adoption in ASEAN through policy alignment, regional cooperation, investment promotion and innovation. It is timely to promote and drive domestic solar industries and supply chains in parallel with fast deployment of solar projects.