New solar projects exceed govt ceiling

by Alena Mae S. Flores – April 27, 2016 at 11:35 pm

from Manila Standard Today

More than 200 megawatts of solar capacity may not qualify for the second wave of solar feed-in tariff rate of P8.69-per-kilowatt-hour, the Energy Department said Wednesday.

The Energy Department is completing the evaluation of recently completed solar projects, with a combined capacity of 800 megawatts, exceeding the government’s ceiling of 500 MW for projects that could avail of the preferential rate.

Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsad said the department would announce the final list of the solar projects that qualified for the second wave of FiT rate for solar soon.

“We are sure that there will be questions. That’s why we want to be transparent,” Monsada said.

She said 800 MW of solar power capacity was being evaluated by the department, but only 500 MW would be given the P8.63-per-kWh FiT rate.

Monsada said the department was presently looking at the projects’ completion date.  “We’re looking at when the 500 MW capacity was reached. It can be before March 15,” she said.

Monsada said the non-reliability of the solar power plants were also grounds for disqualification from the FiT availment.

“There are instances when the solar plant is running  for three days continuously and then it broke down on the fourth day, so we had to revalidate,” Monsada said.

She said of the 500 MW solar capacity available for FiT rate, power projects totaling 292 MW were found eligible for the feed-in tariff.

The Philippine Solar Power Solar Alliance earlier asked the department to exercise prudence in disqualifying completed solar projects from the FiT availment.

PSPA president Tetchie Capellan said the government should recognize the role of solar energy in adding capacity to the national grid and for helping avert possible blackout.

“The alliance asks the DoE  for prudence in disqualifying  completed solar projects. These companies poured billions of pesos into solar projects and their possible disqualification to the RE incentives not only denies the investors the opportunity to recover their capital. More importantly, it kills the momentum created by the DOE and erodes investors’ confidence,” Capellan said.

She said government should encourage policy-makers in finding a common ground to recognize solar companies that reached 80 percent electro-mechanical completion and delivered electricity to the grid.”

“There is already an admission from national authorities and utility distribution companies on the tightness of supply.  Undeniably, the contribution of 750-MW solar energy in the daytime when demand is at its peak, cannot be ignored  – the 750 MW solar provided more security to the grid, averted a possible supply shortage as well as delivered economic benefits to the consumers and the rural economy,” she said.

“More importantly, solar power plants today averts the power crisis. It also hedges the inevitable increase in oil prices, and effectively reduce the consumers’ burden. The entry of solar balances the environment impact of fossil-fuel-dependent power plants as well as contributes to the national agenda of reducing greenhouse gas emissions,” she said.