Solar Power to Retain Lead in South Korea’s Green Plans

  • Solar investment seen at $5.1 billion in 2021, up 42%
  • 3.8 gigawatts of solar plants to secure financing this year

Solar projects are driving renewable energy investments in South Korea.

As much as $3.6 billion was invested in the solar sector last year, according to BloombergNEF’s first South Korea Renewable Energy Investment Trends report (available to clients here). The forecast investment for this year is $5.1 billion.

The Korean New Deal unveiled in July 2020 boosted investors’ interest by expanding auction capacity and increasing the subsidy budget for solar.

Solar installations totaled 15 gigawatts at the end of 2020, and accounted for over 11% of the total installed capacity of 129 gigawatts. Wind plants added up to 1.6 gigawatts while biomass projects were at 1.3 gigawatts.

Thermal power plants including gas, coal, and nuclear dominate the country’s power mix, with a combined capacity of 108 gigawatts.

The report also said:

  • Notable large-scale projects financed in 2020 include the 96 megawatts Anjwa Salt Field PV Plant and the 65 megawatts Hyundai E&C Seosan Reclaimed Land PV Plant.
  • No offshore wind project has been financed since 2017. New projects however continue to be announced on the back of the country’s 12 gigawatts offshore wind target for 2030. Total SE and Green Investment Group set up three special purpose vehicles in 2020 to co-develop a 2.3 gigawatts floating offshore wind project. Orstedalso announced a 1.6 gigawatts offshore project off the cost of Incheon.
  • Korea Development Bank was the top lead arranger in 2020. Korea Federation of Community Credit Cooperatives and Samsung Life Insurance shared the top spot for syndicated lenders.

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