Solar installation may be ‘oversubscribed’

by Myrna Velasco – February 25, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

Houston, Texas – As the race is now inching close to the finish line, the 450-megawatt second wave cap of solar installations may wind up “oversubscribed” after all, according to the Department of Energy.

In an interview on the sidelines of the IHS-CERA Week here, Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada divulged that the department is suddenly swamped with last-minute requests for validation of project completions.

“Our list of projects requesting validation has grown longer… so our latest assessment is that, the cap may end up oversubscribed,” she said.

Monsada indicated there are some projects which have not asked for prior validation, but even their grid connections were already accomplished. “It is only this time that they are notifying us,” she said.

In view of current developments, she noted that the department will be issuing a directive or advisory to all concerned project sponsors to notify and make the necessary submissions to the department so they can be assessed on potential endorsements on the feed-in-tariff (FIT) availments.

The next round of FIT for the qualified projects will be P8.69 per kilowatt hour (kWh). Projects to be included shall reach the required level of completion by the prescribed cut-off date of March 15 this year.

Following this batch of projects, the total FIT-underpinned solar capacities will already reach 500 megawatts – including the initial 50MW that had been incentivized with P9.63 per kWh.

There are still groups though with insatiable appetite when it comes to subsidies for renewable energy capacities that they are now prodding government for a third round of FIT charges.

In her earlier press briefing in Manila, Monsada emphasized that the department will have to wait for the recommendation of the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) as to the pleas for another installment of FIT rates.

Emerging RE technologies in the Philippines are subsidized via consumers’ pockets under the FIT system. It will be a burden in the electric bills over a 20-year span.