ERC defers grant of FIT-COC to 2nd-wave solar projects

by Myrna Velasco – September 12, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

Almost half of the “incentive qualifiers” in the second-wave solar projects’ race may not get their feed-in-tariff certificate of compliance (FIT-COC) because of a re-investigation of the award process sought by the Department of Energy.

Taking off from that premise, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) indicated to media that it will defer decisions on applications for FIT-COC of the projects and capacity-installations earlier endorsed by the DOE for FIT incentives.

ERC Commissioner Alfredo J. Non said “for those applying for FIT-COC with the ERC, we are giving them a regular COC only until the completion of the investigation of the DoE.”

The ERC official emphasized that several investor-groups have filed protests on grounds that the DOE may not have been transparent on its award of the FIT incentives in the second round contest for solar projects.

Non stressed “there will be an investigation because the industry is forcing DOE to really make a clear stand…because there’s fear that the DOE may not have been transparent in its processes.”

At the same time, he said there were parties that lodged their complaints with the ERC relating to timelines of project completions.

“We also received complaints, we have to look at the dates if these are accurate…on our part, we have to set aside granting the FIT-COC applications, we have to wait for the judgment of the DOE,” the ERC official noted.

It has to be qualified that the initial cut-off of FIT-COC grantees effectively stopped March this year reportedly at 292 megawatts – from the first to second round of solar capacity installations.

It entails then that chunk of the projects with certificates of endorsement (COEs) for FIT from the DOE would still be on cliffhanger following the call for fresh round of probe on the award scheme.

The capacity addition in the second FIT-qualifying round had been set at 450 megawatts, to add to the initial 50MW cap in the first batch.

Aside from the megawatt-capacity ceiling, concerns have also been raised on the potential cost impact of the FIT-underpinned solar projects especially since the cap spilled over to more than the 500MW prescription.