3 large solar plants open, add 214 MW

Three more power solar plants are now operational, adding 214 megawatts to the country’s electricity supply, the Energy Department said Thursday.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said during the Shell Power Progress Together Forum that two solar plants were inaugurated Thursday, including the 135-MW solar facility in Cadiz, Negros Occidental of Soleq Holdings, and the 50-MW solar project of PetroSolar Corp. in Tarlac province.

The other completed solar project is Enfinity Philippines’ 29-MW Digos solar plant in Davao, which was still undergoing site verification.

Monsada said solar projects were “fast moving renewable energy resources” and in a hurry to meet the March 15 deadline to avail of feed-in tariff incentives.

Soleq switched on the P10-billion, 132-MW solar farm in Barangay Tinampaan, Cadiz City, Negros Occidental Thursday, becoming the largest operational solar power plant in Southeast Asia.

The massive solar farm, sprawled over 176 hectares of land, went online in a simple ceremony attended by national and local officials as well representatives of Soleq, the Asian utility that built the facility.

Conergy, a leading German photovoltaic solution and service provider and PetroSolar Corp., a company owned by PetroGreen Energy Corp. and EEI Power Corp., held the inauguration of the Tarlac solar power project Thursday.

Petrosolar and Conergy said the 50-MW facility was synchronized to the Luzon grid and started delivering power on Jan. 27, 2016. 

Meanwhile, Enfinity business development director Bill Ruccius said the Digos project was now completed and would undergo site verification by the Energy Department this week.

Former Sen. Juan Miguel Zubiri said the Philippines now had 10 fully functional solar power plants with a combined installed capacity of 377 MW.

He said additional solar farms were now being put up in Bacolod City, La Carlota City and in the municipalities of Murcia and Manapla in Negros Occidental and Mabinay in Negros Oriental.

“We think it would be good to have another round of FIT to encourage and get the supply chain going,” Ruccius said.

“Once you get the volume of products moving through the system with the supply chain going and the prices going down then once that happens, everybody can benefit here in the Philippines from the lower prices,” he said.

Ruccius said there was still a strong interest in renewable energy projects especially for solar and wind, which should receive incentives from the government.

“From the developer’s standpoint, there are many projects that are in different stages of development today that did not get into construction for this 500-MW FIT, so there are many projects that would be put very quickly, get into construction for the next round of FIT both for wind and solar,” he said.

Monsada said once all active solar contracts were completed, the 450-MW second wave of installation target for solar would be oversubscribed.

Other completed solar projects were the 63.3-MW plant of Solar Philippines, Citicore’s 18-MW plant in Bataan and the 25-MW solar plant in Silay.

Renewable energy projects that met the deadline could avail of the P8.69-per-kilowatt-hour approved FIT rate.

Monsado, however,  said the department would still determine the completion stage of the three solar projects and whether they were already on commercial operations and connected to the power grid.

“I’m waiting for the report because the DOE staff are still on the ground doing verification. We require all those in the solar race to write us to ensure that they will be included,” she said.

“If there is an extension or not, I cannot say yet. We will not talk about extension and expansion until the March 15 deadline, and until NREB [National Renewable Energy Board] completes its report. NREB will determine if there’s a need and how we address the need,” Monsada said.

Topics: solar plants , Energy Department
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