Meralco eyes partners to initially deploy 100-MW solar power in franchise areas

by Lenie Lectura – January 29, 2016

from Business Mirror

THE Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is currently negotiating with various contractors and suppliers to assist the utility firm’s renewable-energy (RE) unit to initially install 100 megawatts (MW) of solar power within its franchise area.

“We are talking to a lot of entities regarding solar,” Meralo Senior Vice President Alfredo Panlilio said in a text message when asked for an update of its solar project.

Meralo has recently formed its RE unit called MSpectrum.

Panlilio added: “We are talking to a lot of suppliers and EPC [engineering, procurement, construction] contractors. Miescor [Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corp.] is one of the potential EPCs.”

Miescor is Meralco’s engineering unit. Meralco President Oscar S. Reyes earlier said the utility firm’s RE unit “aspires” to build 100 MW over three years.

“We’d like to focus on supporting solar rooftop within our franchise area without prejudice to other areas,” Reyes said.

Meralco distributes electricity in Metro Manila, Bulacan, Cavite and Rizal, as well as parts of Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Pampanga.

Meralco customers stood at 5.7 million at end-September 2015, with almost 168,000 new customer accounts since September 2014.

Residential customers represent 92 percent and commercial customers account for 8 percent of total customers count. “We’re targeting maybe bigger commercial and industrial users for this [solar],” Reyes added. Panlilio said last month that Meralco’s impending entry into RE could lead to possible partnerships with local and foreign entities already involved in the RE space.

“Given the global developments on RE and especially solar, Meralco itself is interested in exploring partnerships with local and global players,” he said. “We think that the RE space will grow, and we want to be part of that growth.”

Renewable source of power include solar, wind, biomass, ocean, geothermal and run-of-river hydro. Meralco’s immediate interest is in solar.

“We are eager to get into solar, but with an electrical engineer’s eye out for ensuring the continued safe and reliable operation of the distribution grid,” Panlilio said.