Local company Solar Philippines is set to start operations of a solar panel factory by the end of the month, employ 1,000 people and initially produce 600 megawatts of solar panels at the First Philippine Industrial Park in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.
Solar Philippines will become the first local company to manufacture solar panels in the country. The company, led by young entrepreneur Leandro Leviste, said in a statement over the weekend it planned to scale up the production capacity to 2,000 MW.
“Within the year, Solar Philippines plans to start exporting solar panels and developing projects internationally, and begin an expansion to 2 gigawatts of manufacturing capacity, to gain economies of scale and make the Philippines the leader for solar energy in Southeast Asia,” it said.
Solar Philippines said the factory would create 1,000 jobs and use state-of-the-art German equipment and high-efficiency Taiwanese cells.
“The company will soon announce a partnership with one of the world’s leading solar manufacturers to produce panels using proprietary technology at the lowest costs,” it said.
Solar Philippines said the completion of the initial 600-MW solar factory would support the company’s projects this year, including 50 MW in Batangas and Cavite, which would supply Manila Electric Co. under a recently signed supply agreement and 150 MW in Tarlac, the country’s first battery-equipped solar farm to supply power at rates lower than fossil fuel.
“Vertical integration is the key to making solar cost-competitive, as in other countries, where solar is already cheaper than coal and especially natural gas. Once we establish this, and demonstrate that solar with batteries can provide reliable 24/7 power, we estimate that the Philippines will be able to save P50 to P100 billion per year,” Leviste, the 23-year-old founder and president of Solar Philippines, said.
Leviste said the solar facility would be an entirely new factory but managed by former senior operations team of SunPower Philippines, which closed its facility in the country.
“We encourage other power companies to join this transition into a solar-powered future, which represents a historic opportunity for the Philippine power industry to remake our generation infrastructure and accelerate the advent of sustainable energy worldwide,” Leviste said.
Solar Philippines announced in June last year that it would build one of the world’s largest solar factories in Batangas.
“Increasingly, solar manufacturing is moving from China to Southeast Asia, and we believe that the Philippines can lead that trend. Filipinos are among the best workers in the world, and the large local solar market can add to the demand for otherwise export-only factories,” Leviste said earlier.
Leviste said the facility was constructed with the aim of lowering panel costs, taking control of the supply chain, and supporting the new administration’s agenda to bring manufacturing to the Philippines.
“This is the key step towards lowering solar costs, enabling us to produce electricity cheaper than coal. Instead of importing expensive fuel from other countries, we will manufacture here in the Philippines. Soon enough, our country can become the Saudi Arabia of solar, a leading energy exporter, and Made in the Philippines panels will be used around the world,” Leviste said.
Solar Philippines is one of the nation’s leading solar providers. It has completed the Calatagan Solar Farm and projects with SM and Robinsons Malls.