MRC Allied pushes solar plant

by Alena Mae S. Flores – May 23, 2016 at 11:45 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Listed MRC Allied Inc. plans to put up a 60-megawatt solar power project in Cebu through a wholly-owned subsidiary.

“The company reports that the Department of Energy released the solar energy service contract number SESC No. 2015-10-261 in favor of Menlo Renewable Energy Corp., a wholly-owned subsidiary of MRC Allied for the development of a 60 megawatt Naga solar plant,” it said.

MRC Allied disclosed plans to build a solar plant in Cebu in July last year.

Officials earlier said that they planned to put up the solar facility inside the company’s 160-hectare industrial estate in Naga, Cebu.

The company plans to avail of the feed-in tariff for solar power projects, although the government has yet to announce whether there will be a third round of feed-in tariff grant for solar.

MRC Allied incorporated Menlo Renewable Energy in May last year to take advantage of the emerging renewable energy industry in the country.

The company, formerly Makilala Rubber Corp., is a property development firm that has found a niche in the development of master planned, integrated residential, commercial, recreational, tourism and industrial areas within a single community or township.

The passage of Renewable Energy Law of the Philippines in 2008 ushered the entry of thousands of renewable energy projects in the country, including solar.

The Energy Regulatory Commission also asked the Energy Department to limit the solar power projects availing of the feed-in tariff rate at 500 megawatts to lessen the impact on power cost.

“We computed the FiT rate based on 500 MW, so if it’s going to exceed 500 MW, definitely we have to adjust the [power] rates,” ERC chairman Jose Vicente Salazar told reporters.

FiT refers to incentives given to renewable energy developers such as solar projects in the form of fixed, high rate paid by the government for their power output. FiT rates were incorporated in the power bill of consumers and are now known as FiT allowance.

The regulator earlier approved an FiT-allowance of P0.124 per kilowatt-hour, to be collected by National Transmission Corp. and used to pay the renewable energy developers.

“The position of the commission is to limit to 500 MW [the solar capacity] until we determine the impact on the rates considering that our previous approval was for that [P0.124 per kWh],” Salazar said.

The department approved a 50-MW installation for solar projects under the first round of installation targets at a rate of P9.68 per kilowatt-hour. The installation was increased by an additional 450 MW but with a provision that the power projects would be completed by March 15, 2016 to provide additional capacity for the dry months.

ERC granted a lower rate of P8.69 per kWh for the second wave of installation target covering the balance of 450 MW.

The Energy Department, however, has yet to come out with the final list of solar developers that were able to beat the feed-in tariff race for the 450-MW solar capacity.