Kota Marudu Member of Parliament

Bumiputera quota among key factors for solar FiT allocation

KUALA LUMPUR: Besides the best proposed location, fulfilling the Bumiputera policy will be among the other deciding factors in the Ministry of Energy, Green Technology and Water’s (KeTTHA) allocation of the 1MW feed-in tariff (FiT) solar photovoltaic (PV) quota, said Datuk Seri Maximus Ongkili.

Ongkili, who helms KeTTHA, said after companies applying for the quota passed the pre-qualification stage, the ministry would then consider them on the two criteria of location and Bumiputera policy, and the distance of the plant from the injection point, among others.

“The Bumiputera quota has to work. I am under the instruction of the Economic Planning Unit that the Bumiputera policy must apply. For example, for 10 [companies] that we draw, a ratio of six (non-bumiputera) to four (bumiputera) or seven to three has to apply.

“In the past, most [who got the FiT quota] were non-Bumiputeras,” Ongkili told The Edge Financial Daily in the Parliament lobby recently.

He added that the allocation of the 1MW FiT quota must also be allocated by the states, as it involves land issues and the ministry needs to consider whether a state needs the power and whether it can digest the 1MW solar power.

“If we just pick according to pre-qualification, maybe two or three states [will] get it. One state may get six, but the state may not be able to handle intermittent power that much. The idea of open bidding, can [work], but [we] must tighten up [the criteria] at the pre-qualification stage,” he explained.

Under the current selection process for the 1MW FiT, the final decision would be made by the ministry. This is unlike the solar PV individual, the solar PV community and the solar PV non-individual less than 425kW, which will all be allocated by Sustainable Energy Development Authority Malaysia (Seda) through balloting between January and March 2016.

According to Seda’s website, the pass/fail criteria of the application includes plant distance to the connection point, proof of land ownership or a long term lease of minimum 22 years, proof of finance, installation type/function, and service provider experience. Bumiputera quota was not stated as a criterion.

Malaysian Photovoltanic Industry Association (MPIA) president Ahmad Shadzli Abdul Wahab said if the Bumiputera policy is one of the criteria, Seda should have included that in their list of criteria.

“Solar industry must start anew. Policy on Bumiputera should only be implemented if it guarantees and upholds fairness, transparency and public accountability,” he said.

It was earlier reported that MPIA, a non-profit organisation dedicated to photovoltaic energy, had urged the government to carry out the allocations of the FiT for categories above 425kW to 1MW through open balloting for the sake of transparency.

MPIA also called upon Seda to publish the number of companies that have failed and passed the prequalification stage. The association was of the view that companies that passed should go for balloting to decide who will get the quota.

Meanwhile, Ongkili said the selection process of the FiT for 1MW solar PV for 2016 is not conclusive, adding that “we [the government] are still considering it”.


Source - The Edge