MGen keen on joining floating solar power project in Laguna

By Lenie Lectura – October 17, 2019
from Business Mirror

MERALCO PowerGen Corp. (MGen), the power generation subsidiary of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), wants to take part in the development of a floating solar power project via a partnership with a solar power developer.

“We have not yet signed but I believe there are four entities that have been granted the right to develop the pilot. We’re talking to one of them,” said MGen President Rogelio Singson.

He said four solar power firms were issued pilot permits by the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), and MGen is interested to partner with one of the four.

“One operator already made an offer to Meralco. There is already a price offer. There are benchmarks, numbers we’re working on. Only four were issued permits,” he said.

The scale of the solar power project is 110 megawatts (MW) and the cost is not as expensive as land-based solar panels.

Once the LLDA issues the rules on floating solar projects, Singson said construction will commence and will take only 10 months to finish. “We are waiting for the rules on use and lease for solar projects of lake water,” he said. “The requirement is to do a pilot first while they are developing the policy.”

MGen, he said, can help LLDA craft the policy to fast-track the development of such projects. “The industry is trying to help LLDA. If they want, we can fund the study, prepare the policy that will not impact on the use of Laguna Lake. In fact, it will help [because] evaporation is lessened [since it is covered]. Unlike now, with high sunlight, [algae grows fast. That’s why the fish get swamped].”

Electricity to be produced from the floating solar project will be thrown into the grid.  “It is connected to the Meralco grid because where we’re looking at is within the Meralco grid…We can do more if we have enough transmission lines. We’re pressing the government to push for some additional transmission lines,” commented Singson.

This project will be done through MGen Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen), which is eyeing to invest in 1,000 MW of renewable-energy projects over the next five to seven years.

“MGen, through MGreen, will continue working on the realization of our project opportunities and will work in partnership with established developers to maximize our growth potential,” Singson earlier said.

MGreen is the renewable-energy subsidiary of MGen, which, in turn, is the power generation arm of Meralco. The company was established to serve as the platform for the strategic push to develop renewable-energy projects, primarily solar, wind and run-of-river hydro.

Some RE deals will be signed this year but the commercial operation date of these RE projects, which include solar and microgrid, could happen next year.Also, the RE deals this year are targeted to be completed in time for the release of the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) guidelines.

RPS mandates distribution utilities to source a minimum portion of energy from renewable sources, thus guaranteeing a market for renewable-energy generators. This minimum will be increased on yearly basis.

“We are working on several renewable-energy prospects and we recognize the significant reduction in the development cost, particularly for large-scale solar and wind over the past years. We intend to be a key player in this expanding sector,” Singson said.