ERC to review 17 solar plants

by Alena Mae S. Flores – June 26, 2016 at 11:35 pm

from Manila Standard Today

The Energy Regulatory Commission vowed to review solar power projects that received endorsement from the Energy Department to obtain a certificate of compliance and avail of the feed-in tariff.

“We cannot just issue a CoC on the basis on endorsement of other agencies. We have to make a determination,” ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar said over the weekend.

The department granted 17 solar power projects certificate of endorsement for feed-in tariff eligibility. The projects have a combined power output of 417.05 megawatts.

The projects, if granted a certificate of compliance by the ERC, will be able to avail of the feed-in tariff of P8.69 per kilowatthour under the second wave of solar installation targets.

“We will look at whether whether they comply with certain requirements… People are waiting for us on these applications,” Salazar said.

He said he received a letter from developer Negros Island Solar Power, ir Islasol, seeking clarification on the grant of the certificate of compliance.

Islasol is a special purpose vehicle composed of the second and third solar power plants built by clean energy developers Bronzeoak Philippines Inc and PINAI Fund.

Islasol’s solar projects have a total capacity of 80 MW—32 MW in La Carlota and 48 MW in Manapla, Negros Occidental.

“For Islasol, we referred it to… market operations service. They want to know about the process,” Salazar said.

Islasol was not included in the 17 power projects endorsed by the Energy Department, although sources said the company diospatched supply ahead of the other solar projects.

“If they are entitled to CoC, we will have to see if they complied with the requirements. At the very least we will consult with DoE,” Salazar said.

Philippine Solar Power Alliance president Tetchi Capellan, meanwhile, said some of its members decried the lack of transparency in the department over the issuance of certificates of endorsement.

Capellan said some developers complained of unfair treatment and sought explanation from the government on the parameters of the issuance of the endorsement.

Citing data from the market operator, Capellan said “three solar plants claimed they dispatched power earlier than other DoE-endorsed solar projects.”

IslaSol 3, in La Carlota, Isla Sol 4 in Manapla, as well as another plant in Silay, Negros Occidental, delivered power on or before March 8.

“Yet, these three solar plants who appeared to have dispatched earlier were excluded from the DoE list, while solar plants that allegedly dispatched later were endorsed for FiT eligibility to the ERC,” she said.

Capellan said the Alliance would ask the new energy secretary to conduct a thorough inquiry into the process adopted in issuing the certificates.

“The new government has to resolve the issue quickly. PSPA urges the new secretary to unburden himself with the inherited problems arising from the build-first policy and start his term in office on a clean slate,” she said.