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Virus delays development of Meralco’s solar projects

MGEN Renewable Energy Inc., the renewable energy subsidiary of Meralco PowerGen Corp., said Wednesday its solar power projects are facing delays because of the impact of the novel coronavirus disease 2019 on solar panel production in China.

Meralco PowerGen president Rogelio Singson said while the company was committed to developing utility scale renewable energy projects, it was affected by delays in the delivery of solar panels from China.

“We are committed to an energy transition, which means that we will try to do more renewables in the coming months, and we are still committed to our target of 1,000 megawatts of renewables. Unfortunately, two of our projects that are supposed to be commissioned this year, solar projects totaling about 135 MW, encountered some delays because of the PV panels that are coming from China have not been shipped out,” Singson said.

China is one of the world’s biggest suppliers of solar panels. The COVID-2019 outbreak in China forced most omanufacturing firms to suspend operations to help contain the virus.

“One project in Tarlac, about close to 30 percent has been delivered. Unfortunately, we were hoping that this would be commissioned in the middle of this year. We think there may be a push-back because of the non-delivery of panels,” Singson said.

He said another solar project in Bulacan also encountered difficulties because of the problems with the contractor and suppliers from China.

“Every time there is a new engineer that comes around, we have to quarantine them for 14 days.  Aside from engineers, we also have PV panels coming from China,” Singson said.

MGreen took a 40-percent stake in PowerSource First Bulacan Solar Inc. which is developing a 50- MW solar project in San Miguel, Bulacan.

Singson said he was hopeful that the Chinese factories would be able to start production soon.

“Hopefully this is resolved sooner so that the factories where these panels are going to come from in China will start moving panels from the plant to the ship to ports in Manila. As far as we’re concerned, we’re still hopeful we can hit 1,000 to 1,200 MW of renewables, and these will include wind projects,” he said.

Singson said the company also faced challenges in terms of obtaining permits for renewable energy projects in the pipeline.

MGreen earlier announced its plan to invest in 1,000 MW of renewable energy projects over the next five to seven years. “We believe that now is the time to focus on building our green energy capacity, and we intend to be a key player in the renewable energy space,” said Singson.

“We also hope to contribute to the country’s transition towards sustainable energy,” he said.

Topics: MGEN Renewable Energy Inc. , Meralco PowerGen Corp. , solar power , novel coronavirus disease 2019 , COVID-19
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