What is Solar Energy and How is it Developed in Indonesia?

PLTS Atap

Jakarta, December 19, 2022 – The role of energy is critical for increasing economic activity and national security. Thus, energy management, including supply, utilization, and exploitation, should be carried out fairly, sustainably, optimally, and in an integrated manner. Moreover, Indonesia has ratified the Paris Agreement and submitted its commitment to reduce greenhouse gas emissions with an unconditional target of 31.89% in 2030 with its capabilities and a conditional target (with international support) of 43.2%.

Based on the Deep Decarbonization of Indonesia’s Energy System study released by IESR, Indonesia can achieve the target of the Paris Agreement being carbon neutral by 2050. This decade is essential because Indonesia must reach peak emissions in the energy sector by 2030 and reinforce a mix of renewable energy in the electricity to 45%.

Developing the renewable energy sector is a mitigation action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) and support sustainable energy. Hence, Indonesia continues to intensify the use of renewable energy. Solar energy is one of the renewable energy choices that continue to be encouraged for its use in Indonesia.

Quoted from the Sustainable Professional Development Module for Solar and Wind Energy Conversion, Ministry of Education and Culture, solar energy is obtained by converting solar energy through specific equipment into resources in other forms. Furthermore, French scientist Edmond Becquerel discovered that certain materials would give off electricity sparks when sunlight struck in 1839. Even though the sun is located about 149 million kilometresr from the earth, its rays can be used as a renewable energy source. In solar panels, the sunlight is converted into electrical energy using photovoltaic technology (photovoltaic/PV).

Based on the Indonesia Solar Energy Outlook 2023 report issued by IESR, solar power will play an essential role in deep decarbonization in Indonesia in 2060 or sooner in 2050; at least 88% of installed power capacity will come from solar power in 2050. Unfortunately, the use of solar energy in Indonesia has only reached 0.2 GWp of installed capacity and will generate less than 1% of total electricity generation by the end of 2021.

However, Indonesia’s solar energy progress can be seen from the lower price of solar PV electricity obtained through a power purchase agreement (PPA) entered into by PT PLN (Persero) with Independent Power Producers (IPP). The cost of PPA solar PV has fallen by around 78% from US$0.25/kWh to US$0.056/kWh between 2015 and 2022. For this reason, IESR predicts that at least with the addition of large-scale solar PV projects, decreasingsolar module prices, and improving the investment climate, solar PV investment per unit prices will continue to fall, approaching the world price trend. In addition, in terms of project pipeline development for large-scale solar PV, there are currently eight projects with a total capacity of 585 MWp (which have been tendered).

Indonesia Fosters Investment Mobilization to Achieve Gigawatt Order of Solar

Jakarta, 19 April 2022 – Indonesia’s presidency at the G20 2022 is a momentum to show Indonesia’s seriousness in accelerating the global energy transition and the national energy transition plan to achieve carbon-neutral 2060 or faster. One of the ways to achieve it is by accelerating the utilization of solar PV, which has a potential of up to 3400 Gigawatts in Indonesia. Through the Indonesia Solar Summit 2022 organized by the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR) in collaboration with the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), it is hoped that the commitment of local governments, electricity consumers, private and state-owned developers, regional owned-enterprises, and the community to encourage the adoption of solar PV and mobilize the required investment.

Representing the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources Ego Syahrial said that Indonesia’s energy transition roadmap to achieve Net Zero Emission (NZE) by 2060, solar energy will play an important role in national electricity supply, of which 587 GW capacity new renewable energy (NRE), of 361 GW or more than 60% will come from solar energy.

“The government has three major programs for utilizing solar energy, namely rooftop solar PV, large-scale ground-mounted solar PV, and floating solar PV. The implementation of these various programs requires contributions from many parties, not only the government, business area holders, and renewable energy developers, but also energy users, such as the commercial and industrial sectors,” explained Ego in his speech as well as opening the Indonesia Solar Summit/ISS 2022 event.

The commitment, continued Ego, to realize the 2.3 GW (accumulated) solar PV project in 2022 and 2023 which was declared by 31 companies and the plan to build a solar PV component factory in Indonesia is to re-energize its solar energy investment in Indonesia.

Ego added that the rooftop solar power plant itself is one of the quick wins in accelerating the use of solar energy through direct contributions from energy users, especially for industry to meet increasingly strong market demands for green products.

“Support from local manufacturers is also very much needed to fulfill local content requirements and provide great benefits for the country, especially in terms of job creation. Besides that, aspects of easy access to cheap financing, incentives, and other financing facilities are very important to provide financial feasibility and increase energy investment. renewable energy such as solar PV,” he said.

Michael R. Bloomberg, Founder of Bloomberg LP and Bloomberg Philanthropies and United Nations Special Envoy for Climate Ambition and Solutions, emphasized the importance of transitioning to renewable energy as one of the right solutions to achieving zero emissions. He continued that speeding up the investment in solar power will accelerate the green resilient economic development.

“Indonesia has the potential to be a global leader in solar power. This summit is an important opportunity to showcase and accelerate the country’s clean energy efforts before G20 leaders arrive in Bali this November. Solar is already cheaper than coal in many countries. The more we do to speed up investment in solar power, the faster we can cut emissions, create new jobs, and build a stronger and more resilient global economy,” Michael explained.

In 2021, IESR identified large-scale PV project pipelines totaling 2.7 GWac, with an investment value of US$3 billion. At the ISS 2022, the number of solar PV project pipelines committed by multiple companies amounts to 2,300 MW, consisting of rooftop PV (largest percentage), ground-mounted solar PV, and floating solar PV. To mobilize this investment potential, an attractive and supportive ecosystem is needed; including sound policies and regulations, comprehensive implementation of existing regulations, and support to drive the development of the solar PV industry supply chain in Indonesia. 

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) stated that to achieve the renewable energy target of 23% by 2025 according to Presidential Regulation 22/2017, as well as the RUPTL target of 10.9 GW, additional renewable energy generating capacity of 4 GW is needed from outside of PLN. This addition can be contributed by solar PV, both rooftop solar and the use of solar PV in other PLN electricity business holders.

“From the declaration of the 2.3 GW solar PV project at ISS 2022, shows the enormous potential of solar energy in Indonesia. Indonesia can become a Solar Powerhouse in Southeast Asia with potential growth of 3-4 GW annually if it is fully supported. It opens up opportunities for green investment to stream, opportunities to grow the integrated solar power industry from upstream to downstream, and employment and become the driving force for post-COVID economic recovery. President Jokowi needs to see this potential and lead the solar energy revolution for the energy transition in Indonesia,” said Fabby Tumiwa.

The Indonesia Solar Summit (ISS) 2022 was held on 19 and 20 April 2022, highlighting support from the Coordinating Minister for Economic Affairs, Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources represented by the Secretary-General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Deputy Minister of State-Owned Enterprises, Deputy for Investment Planning at the Ministry of Investment, representatives of the Ministry of Finance, CEOs of national and multinational companies, and 15 speakers on Summit Day 2 workshop. ISS 2022 receives support from Bloomberg Philanthropies, Matahari Power, Utomo SolaRuv, BloombergNEF, International Solar Alliance, the Indonesian Solar Energy Association, and the Clean Affordable and Secure Energy in Southeast Asia (CASE) Project; and was attended by more than 600 participants online and offline.

Financier’s Club: Financing Solar Energy in Indonesia – Discusses Solar Energy Financing Issues in Energy Transition

Jakarta, 18 March 2022– The financing of energy transition in Indonesia, especially in the Solar PV Power Plant, needs to be mobilized immediately. The technical potential of solar energy in Indonesia is enormous. Based on a study from the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), the potential of solar energy in Indonesia is up to 20,000 GWp waiting to be harvested so that it can achieve a carbon-neutral target in 2060 or sooner, according to the government’s commitment. Financial institutions can capture various Solar PV Power Plant financing opportunities by identifying investments and risks. Identification of investments and stakes in Solar PV Power Plant financing, the obstacles financial institutions face in providing Solar PV Power Plant financing schemes, and innovative financing practices are discussed in the Financier’s Club: Financing Solar Energy in Indonesia. This activity was held in collaboration with the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources with IESR as a pre-event for the Indonesia Solar Summit (ISS) held in Jakarta.  

Opening the discussion, Sahid Djunaidi, Secretary-General of the Directorate General of Renewable Energy and Energy Conservation (DG EBTKE), emphasized that the emission reduction target can only be achieved if the country makes an energy transition as a fundamental step. The vast potential and short construction period make solar energy a mainstay in providing renewable energy in Indonesia. Several banks have provided financing schemes for rooftop solar power plants, but financing innovation is still needed to encourage more massive rooftop solar power plants. Currently, the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources (MEMR), in collaboration with UNDP, is conducting an incentive grant program for rooftop solar PV to support the development of rooftop solar PV in Indonesia.

“The challenge in developing solar power plants is in the financial sector because of the high risk, not many markets, and the lack of financing guarantees,” he said.

Coordination in policymaking and cooperation between parties is essential to achieving sustainable finance and climate targets. This was stated by Agus Edy Siregar, Deputy Commissioner for Financial System Stability of the Financial Services Authority (OJK). 

“The climate change mitigation agenda requires large funds and cannot be met only from the state budget, but also requires financing from the financial sector,” he added.

Edy said that OJK had compiled several documents on investment in several sustainable sectors, including a green taxonomy, carbon market preparation, and banking reporting related to the financed sector. It is hoped that there will be incentives and disincentive mechanisms in the finance and financing sector.

In addition, Enrico Hariantoro, Head of the OJK Integrated Financial Services Sector Policy Group, said that OJK has been supporting banking instrumentation for a long time to support sustainability financing (POJK 51/2017 POJK 60/2017). According to him, there are several risk aspects that banks are very concerned about, including technical understanding, how to guard the ecosystem, and the payback period. Furthermore, he argues that financing schemes for Solar PV Power Plant could be more varied and innovative, for example, combining elements from facilities, philanthropy, technical, and becoming one with KPR so that it is included in customers’ comfort level bankability of financial providers. OJK always encourages the acceleration of Solar PV Power Plant financing through regulation, of course, by considering the feasibility study (FS).

On the other hand, Adi Budiarso, Head of the Financial Sector Policy Center (PKSK) Fiscal Policy Agency (BKF), said that there is an Energy Transition Mechanism (ETM) to answer the challenges of the energy transition with the primary goal of shortening the economic life of the PLTU Clean Energy Facility (CEF), get additional greenhouse gas emission reductions by building a renewable energy Carbon Recycling Fund (CRF) to achieve Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), and gain access to cheaper funding. 

BKF has implemented tax incentives for investments such as tax holidays, tax allowances, PPh DTP, VAT exemptions, import duty exemptions, tax and customs facilities, and exemptions from collecting PPh 22. According to Adi, the Indonesian financial system is ready to implement sustainable finance, supported by green taxonomy. In addition, BKF has conducted mapping with nine universities, associations, and stakeholders. Adi said that Regional Banks had the opportunity to help accelerate the Solar PV Power Plant development. Renewable energy has the potential to create electricity supply independently. The existence of BPR, the regional company, can be one of the doors for the entry of Solar PV Power Plant financing.

Edwin Syahruzad, President Director of PT Sarana Multi Infrastruktur (SMI), who was present on the same occasion, informed the participants that PT SMI has taken strategic steps in financing Solar PV Power Plant. In addition, PT SMI has provided financing for all types of renewable energy, such as hydroelectric power, geothermal power plants, wind power plants, solar PV power plant, and biomass. However, he said that PT SMI’s commitment to the Solar PV Power Plant project depends on the pipeline project. 

“The Solar PV Power Plant pipeline is more derived from rooftop Solar PV, and I think this is a potential that must be worked on. However, the approach is slightly different from on-grid  Solar PV Power Plants because rooftop  Solar PV comes from contracts with building owners where Solar PV Power Plants are installed. The building owners can come from outside of the electricity sector. The revenue model is also quite different. It is the domain of banks with building owner customers who can expand their business opportunities using rooftop solar PV,” said Edwin.

Regulatory Support: Key to Unlock Indonesia’s Solar Potential

Jakarta, February 24, 2022 – The development of solar energy in Indonesia since 2018 has been increasing, although not significantly. The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources noted that there was an increase in installed capacity for rooftop solar to 48.79 MW at the end of 2021 from only 1.6 MW in 2018. Progressive developments have also occurred in utility-scale PLTS, with the lowest PLTS electricity price being below 4 cents USD/kWh. One of the reasons for the increasing adoption of rooftop solar, apart from developing technology, is also due to the policy of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation number 49 of 2018 as the first official rule regarding rooftop PV.

The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) projects an increase in the capacity of rooftop PV in the next 10 years, which will come from the government setting a target for solar PV of 4.7 GW in the RUPTL 2021-2030. The enactment of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation number 26 of 2021 provides new hope for PLN customers who will install rooftop PV because this new rule is considered beneficial to all parties.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR), and Chairperson of the Indonesian Solar Energy Association (ISA) in a webinar entitled “Indonesia Solar Chapter: Unlocking the Unlimited Potential to Embrace a Greener Future” (24/2/2022) stated that solar energy continues to grow in Indonesia both for household and utility-scale.

“In the coming years, solar energy has promising potential in Indonesia because the government has quite a lot of targets for using solar PV, such as the target of 3.6 GW in 2025 and replacing diesel with solar plus battery,” he said.

However, Fabby underlined a number of challenges in the development of solar PV in the country such as the policy framework that is not strong enough, as well as the role of PLN as the sole off-taker for the electricity produced so that the development of solar PV is highly dependent on the condition of the PLN grid. The Local Content Requirement (LCR) for solar panels also makes investors less confident to invest in Indonesia.

“The domestic solar panel industry is not yet mature enough to produce tier-1 solar modules. IN which for bankable PV projects, they are required to use a tier-1 module,” he explained.

Fendi Liem, Founder/Managing Director of PT Selaras Daya Utama (SEDAYU), agrees that the clarity of government regulations is the trigger for the exponential growth of rooftop solar. The issuance of the Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Regulation 49/2018 has undeniably provided a sense of security for both investors and potential customers of rooftop solar power plants since 2018. Fendi reminded all government stakeholders to accelerate coordination and synchronization when there are new regulations.

“We often encounter rules that are out of sync between institutions in the government. This of course creates a bad impression from the entrepreneur. The desire to invest can be reduced because the rules between government institutions are not in harmony,” explained Fendi.

Fendi sees 2022 as a momentum for the rise of rooftop PV after the MEMR Ministerial Regulation 26/2021 applies which provides more benefits for rooftop PV customers, don’t let this momentum pass by. One of the government’s homework is to capture this momentum by strengthening the policy framework so that both developers and consumers will no longer hesitate to invest in rooftop PV.

Erik Peper, Country Director of Indonesia Infunde Development, sees the development of solar energy to accelerate the energy transition in Indonesia as the right thing to do. However, there are a number of obstacles such as scalability, land acquisition, and project clustering. Erik also sees that there is still uncertainty from the Indonesian government to use clean energy technology.

“The energy transition must be prepared carefully and look at the possible developments of the situation in the future. Technology that is currently cheap/economical may become expensive in the future. If there is a financial cost (of the transition) let be it, as in the long run it will be beneficial, it should be treated as an investment.”

Solar PV Answers Industrial and Commercial Needs to Provide Green Products

Semarang, October 06, 2021 – The Commercial and Industry sectors are potential partners to accelerate the penetration of renewable energy. The increasingly strong market demands for green products encourage the commercial and industrial sectors to switch to environmentally friendly technologies in order to maintain their existence in the global market. Solar PV is a strategic choice for the commercial and business sectors considering its relatively fast installation, as well as the availability of solar energy sources that are evenly distributed throughout Indonesia. In addition, investing in solar PV can reduce production costs.

Fabby Tumiwa, Executive Director of the Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) explained that currently in line with efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, the industrial sector is faced with the obligation of the economic value of carbon. Especially for goods that are exported such as to European countries, America and Japan. The carbon footprint of a product that exceeds the specified maximum will be taxed. In addition, public awareness about sustainability issues is increasing, as stated by a survey by WWF and The Economist which found that searches on search engines with the keyword ‘sustainability’ increased by more than 71% during 2016-2020.

“Shareholders of companies have asked that all these companies commit to use 100% renewable energy. So if we want Central Java to become an industrial center, access to renewable energy must be facilitated,” said Fabby at a webinar organized by IESR with the Central Java Government entitled “Rooftop Solar Energy for the Commercial and Industrial Sector in Central Java” (6/10/2021).

In general, in terms of adoption, the number of rooftop solar PV users in Indonesia is increasing. Based on data from the Directorate General of EBTKE, until last August 2021, there were 4,133 rooftop solar PV customers in Indonesia, with a total installed capacity of 36.74 MWp. Judging from the capacity of rooftop PV by region, Central Java and DIY were ranked third with a rooftop solarcapacity of 5.83 MWp.

Chrisnawan Anditya, Director of Aneka EBT at the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, explained that the government has given priority to the development of rooftop solar power plants considering its huge potential, fast installation, and very competitive prices.

“The medium-term strategy that is being pushed for the development of PV is rooftop solar which is targeted at 3.6 GW by 2025. In addition, we also continue to encourage utility-scale PV,” explained Chrisnawan on the same occasion.

To support infrastructure and services towards the energy transition, PLN must also improve on preparing grid adaptations and adapting to a business model that accommodates large amounts of renewable energy.

“This rooftop PV has an impact on the current PLN grid due to its intermittent nature. So PLN must provide a standby unit to supply electricity when the power generated by the PV rooftop cannot meet the existing electricity needs,” explained M. Irwansyah Putra, General Manager PLN Central Java – DIY.

Irwan also explained that in supporting the carbon tax mechanism, PLN has issued an REC (Renewable Energy Certificate). By purchasing this certificate, PLN will distribute electricity obtained from clean energy to the industry.

Questioning policies to encourage renewable energy in Central Java Province, the Head of the Central Java Province ESDM Office said that his party had prepared various policies. However, according to him, to encourage certain changes, in this case the transition from fossil energy to renewable energy (Solar PV-ed), policy support alone is not enough.

“Change will happen more quickly if it is driven by a market driven mechanism, so it’s not just complying with certain rules. The Central Java ESDM Office has tried to make policy packages that cover this market aspect with input from various parties such as the government, universities, and NGOs,” explained Sujarwanto.

The Central Java Regional Government also provides assistance to the commercial and industrial sectors in Central Java which are transitioning to green industries. “There are several steps taken to implement the green industry, i.e. training, facilitating certification for the green industry as well as awarding the green industry. Several companies in Central Java received this award,” explained M. Arif Sambodo, Head of the Industry and Trade Office of Central Java Province.

Opportunities for the commercial and industrial sectors to adopt solar PV are getting wider with the availability of various Solar PV investment schemes such as installments and leases. Anggita Pradipta, Head of Marketing for SUN Energy, said that there are three schemes offered by SUN Energy for prospective rooftop solar PV customers, namely Solar purchase, Performance Based Rental, and Solar Leasing.

“For the commercial and industrial sectors who want to install solar panels but are constrained by the initial installation cost, we recommend taking a performance based rental scheme. With this scheme, the customer will be bound by a contract for 15-25 years, where all the costs of maintaining the solar PV unit will be borne by SUN Energy, after the contract ends, the assets will become the property of the customer,” explained Anggi.