by Lenie Lectura – March 16, 2016
from Business Mirror
SOLAR Philippines on Wednesday formally switched on its 63.3-megawatt (MW) solar- power facility in Calatagan, Batangas, bringing the Philippines one step closer to meeting its commitments under the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, and fulfilling the dream of a low-carbon economy.
Developed, financed and constructed by Solar Philippines, the Calatagan solar farm is the largest to be completed in Luzon. It comprises over 200,000 solar panels on a 160-hectare property, and supplies enough power for the entire western Batangas.
Over three decades, it will offset over one million tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to planting over five million trees. During construction, it employed 2,500 workers, and will continue to employ at least 100 people over 30 years, the company said.
President Aquino, who inaugurated the solar facility, highlighted the global significance of the company’s efforts, stating that “through projects like these, we are proving to the world that even developing countries, such as ours, can do their share in combating climate change.”
In 2016 the Philippines has become the largest solar market in Southeast Asia and one of the largest among emerging markets worldwide.
“Solar has just begun to realize its potential. It will soon not only be cleaner, but cheaper and more reliable than coal, and in a matter of years, supply the majority of our country’s energy needs,” Mr. Aquino said.
Solar Philippines CEO Leandro Leviste said that the Calatagan solar farm is the first to be developed, financed and constructed entirely by local companies.
The Calatagan solar farm was one of the first among dozens of solar projects completed this year, and began operations weeks before the Department of Energy’s (DOE) March 15 feed-in-tariff deadline.
This program is part of the Renewable Energy law, which, after years of inactivity, was finally implemented under the Aquino administration.
The rise of solar power in the Philippines is a touchstone of the government’s environmental legacy. At the start of the Aquino administration, the country’s installed solar capacity was under 2 MW. This month, it has exceeded the 500-MW target set by the DOE. Talks have begun for an expanded installation target in light of these unprecedented investments in solar power.
Mr. Aquino’s last inauguration of a solar project was the 1.5-MW SM North Edsa Solar Carpark in 2014, also developed by Solar Philippines. The company will soon begin construction on its next projects in Mindanao and Luzon, and aims to complete 500 MW by 2017.
Solar Philippines has completed 80 MW of solar-power projects to date. It aims to make the Philippines a global leader in solar power.