FiT-rate solar power ‘eligibles’ out in 15 days, DOE executive says

by Lenie Lectura – March 15, 2016

from Business Mirror

The Department of Energy (DOE) has yet to release the list of solar-power providers who beat the March 15 deadline for the feed-in tariff (FiT) rate eligibility.

DOE Officer in Charge Assistant Secretary Mario Marasigan said on Tuesday that it would take at least 15 working days to finish the agency’s evaluation.

“It’s a long process of evaluation. It’s not just merely physical evaluation,” said on Marasigan, when asked what’s holding the agency to release the list. “The minimum time frame, in accordance with the rules, is 15 days for us to evaluate the data from the time they requested it.”

The present system involves filling FiT allocation on a first-come, first-served basis. When the slots are filled, the DOE will then adjust the quotas to accommodate more renewable-energy (RE) developers.

For the second batch of FiT rate for solar projects, the DOE increased the installation target of solar-power projects to 500 megawatts (MW).

The approved FiT rate for solar under the second round is P8.69 per kilowatt- hour (kWh), lower than the P9.68-per- kWh solar FiT rate during the first round of solar-power allocation.

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.

Under the law, 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 eligibility of the RE plants, and sets the RE installation target to ensure the security of the power grid and electricity rates.

It is the DOE that issues the Certificate of Endorsement (COE) for FiT eligibility. It is also the agency tasked to validate “successful commissioning” and affirm the date of start of commercial operations before it can issue the COE-FiT eligibility on a first-come, first-served basis. Only projects which are 100-percent commissioned and in commercial operation upon final validation will be eligible for COE-FiT.

The COE-FiT eligibility will indicate the installed capacity that will be qualified for the FiT rate and the actual date of commercial operations as basis for commencement of FiT charge.

Once the endorsement is issued, the ERC will issue a Certificate of Commerciality.