SNAP to expand solar-floating facility in Isabela to 50 MW

By Lenie Lectura – December 11, 2018
from Business Mirror

SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP) intends to expand its solar floating facility in the Magat Dam reservoir in Ramon, Isabela to as many as 50 megawatts (MW), a top official said on Monday.

SNAP President and CEO Joseph Yu said the next investment for the company would be to scale up its 200-kilowatt hour solar project to “30 MW to 50 MW.”

The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) had approved SNAP’s proposals to install the floating solar project, which will be placed over a 2,500-square-meter area over the reservoir.

This project will focus on providing internal power to SNAP”s facilities in the area. A stress test will be conducted to ensure the facility works through incidences of massive inflows and strong typhoons.

The company wants to operate it in March or April next year after the conduct of a stress test.

“We want to operate it before the wet season. We are hoping that if it works, it is scalable and a venue for us to grow rapidly. Assuming this works, I would like to build an expansion as early as 2020,” Yu said.

NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya had said that a hectare of solar field can produce 1 MW of power. The government agency said that if 200 of the 4,500 hectares of the Magat Dam reservoir will be used for water-based solar power, 200 MW will be generated and 200 hectares of agricultural lands could be saved.

Other than not competing for land space,  floating solar facilities have a number of other benefits, according to studies.  They safeguard the water levels in dams and reservoirs by preventing evaporation. Such facilities can also provide sanctuary for marine life that cannot survive in very hot temperatures.

SNAP is a joint venture between SN Power of Norway and AboitizPower. It owns and operates the 360-MW to 380-MW Magat hydro on the border of Isabela and Ifugao; the 8.5-MW Maris hydro in Isabela; the 105-MW Ambuklao hydro in Benguet; and the 140-MW Binga hydro, also in Benguet.