Plans by Vietnam’s state-owned oil & gas group to move into floating solar underlines how deploying PV panels on dams, lakes or the open sea is one of the hottest new trends in global renewables – and in Asia, a potential powerful new alternative to coal.

PetroVietnam said it aims to build solar plants on its hydro-dams as part of a wider energy transition strategy, adding to Vietnam, and the region’s, leadership role in the fast-emerging floating PV sector.

Asia is already ahead of Europe, according to the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA), which puts Vietnam top of a list of its Southeast Asian neighbours in terms of firm floating solar plans at 330MW, even before PetroVietnam’s ambitions emerged.