Philippines renews bid to hike solar power output in energy generation

by Lenie Lectura – February 29, 2016

from Business Mirror

German experts are in town to train more Filipino firms engaged in solar-power business in support of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) thrust to increase the share of solar power in the country’s total energy mix.

At a news conference on Monday, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy said that technical experts from nine German solar companies are in Manila until March 5 to train solar companies, distribution utilities, electric cooperatives, regulatory and administration authorities, project developers, and investors on the latest technology and project-development skills for renewable energy (RE).

“The training supports the Philippine DOE’s thrust to increase the share of solar power in the country’s total energy mix, and meets the growing demand for related skills,” it said.

Solar and other RE technologies are ideal for providing electricity to islands and other remote areas that are difficult to connect to the grid. The integration into diesel-powered generation systems and microgrids would bring the country closer to full electrification.

In addition, the cost of such technologies, which have dropped significantly over the last years, are now competitive in rural areas. The National Power Corp.-Small Power Utilities Group is leading the way in the country with the first photovoltaic/hybridization project in Limasawa Island in Leyte.

The training attracts over 200 participants annually, it said.

The event is being organized by the German federal enterprise Deutsche Gesellschaft for International Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH.

During the news briefing, DOE Division chief Gaspar Escobar Jr. stressed the importance of RE in the country’s energy mix.

“We have a big potential for all types of RE. We have more than 7,000 islands that are rich in RE sources. We have cut down the processing time for RE applications to entire more investors. We really want RE to have its rightful share in the energy mix,” Escobar said.

Under Department Circular 2015-07-0014, the share of RE in the energy mix should be at least 30 percent. The renewable sources of power include solar, wind, biomass, ocean and hydro.

“To maintain the share of RE in power generation, the DOE hereby adopts a policy of adopting at least 30-percent share of RE in the country’s total power-generation capacity through the holistic implementation of the FiT [feed-in-tariff] system and other pertinent provisions under the RE Act and RE IRR [implementing rules and regulations],” the circular stated.

To be sure that this policy is strictly enforced, the DOE will use the FiT installation targets: 250 megawatts (MW) for hydro, 250 MW for biomass, 400 MW for wind, 500 MW for solar and 10 MW for ocean. When these targets are met, a bidding will take place.