Meralco now distributing solar power

by Alena Mae S. Flores –  May 01, 2016 at 11:50 pm

from Manila Standard Today

Manila Electric Co., the biggest reteiler of electricity, has linked up with 30.46 megawatts of solar capacity in its franchise area in the first quarter of the year, allowing it to help manage peak demand.

The solar power plants include the 15-MW station in San Ildefonso, Bulacan, 3 MW in Valenzuela City, 0.96 MW from SOLNRG Inc., 1.676 MW from CW Marketing and Development Corp. and 1.676 MW from Solar Powered Agri-Rural Communities Corp.

Meralco senior vice president and head of customer retail services and corporate communications Al Panlilio noted a strong interest in solar projects around the country.

Panlilio said during an analysts’ conference call solar power plants would help Meralco manage demand during peak daytime.

Solar power companies have been on the race to avail of the feed-in tariff of P8.69 per kilowatt-hour prior to the March 15 deadline under the second wave of installation target.

Solar projects are easy and faster to install while the cost of solar panels have gone significantly in recent years.

Meralco also plans to put up its own solar rooftop projects with a target combined capacity of 100 MW.

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

He said Meralco wanted to go into solar but stressed the company was focused on ensuring safe and reliable operation of the distribution grid.

“We need to understand that the solar installation in a house or business can affect the stability and safety of the distribution grid and may place other nearby customers at risk. We also recognize that solar photovoltaic installations that are synchronized with the grid are dependent upon the quality of power delivered by the distribution utility,” he said.

Panlilio said the company’s efforts to support solar energy was driven by Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan’s vision to embrace change and innovation.

“He believes that Meralco should stay ahead of the curve on solar and renewable energy and on point with customers abreast with technology,” he said.

Pangilinan earlier announced the company’s plans to venture into renewable energy, noting that “the infrastructure cost of renewables, particularly solar and wind, have been decreasing.”

“We are mindful of technological developments capable of disrupting Meralco’s business model. In that light we are looking to participate in the renewable energy space, particularly solar and wind,” Pangilinan said.