by Lenie Lectura – February 24, 2016
from Business Mirror
AC Energy Holdings Inc. expects to switch on its first solar-power facility “within the week,” the company’s top official said.
“We engaged and are ready to export anytime now. It could be within the week. It’s already complete,” AC Energy President John Eric Francia said.
AC Energy, the power arm of conglomerate Ayala Corp., has teamed up with Bronzeoak Clean Energy Inc., the investment arm of Bronzeoak Philippines Inc., for the development, construction and operation of a 40-megawatt (MW) solar-power farm in Bais City, Negros Oriental.
The solar project will be owned and operated by Monte Solar Energy Inc. (MonteSol), a special-purpose vehicle company, and shall be undertaken in two phases.
The first phase is for an 18-MW, solar-power plant with a total project cost of P1.3 billion.
“We are starting with 18 MW, but that’s expandable to 50 MW,” said Francia, adding that this solar project would expand the power firm’s renewable-energy (RE) assets.
AC Energy is committed to build a portfolio of power-generation assets using renewable and conventional technologies.
Francia is also hoping for more RE projects to be undertaken by the company.
“We have a platform for solar and wind already, so those are the two technologies we’re pushing,” he said. AC Energy earlier signed a subscription and shareholders’ agreement with Bronzeoak to develop, construct and operate the solar farm. Bronzeoak Philippines is the developer and managing shareholder of the 45-MW San Carlos Solar Energy project.
San Carlos is the country’s first and largest solar farm, inaugurated by President Aquino in May 2014. It was the first-ever RE project that received incentives under the feed-in-tariff (FiT) system.
Solar-power projects lined up for commercial operation before March 15 this year are entitled to the FiT rate of P8.69 per kilowatt-hour (kWh) for the second round of solar-power allocation.
The Department of Energy has increased the capacity allocation of solar-power projects to 500 MW from 50 MW in order to attract more RE developers.
Under the law and pertinent rules, it is the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) that sets the FiT rates, while the DOE is the lead implementing agency of the RE Act. It also approves the FIT eligibilty of the RE plants, and sets the RE installation target to ensure the security of the power grid and electricity rates.
FiT is the per-kWh rate guaranteed to RE developers to ensure the viability of their projects. Consumers are the ones who shoulder this under FiT-Allowance (FIT-All), a separate line component in the power bills. They are now paying an additional P0.0406 per kWh.