Solar installation target may fall short at cut-off date, DOE predicts

by Myrna Velasco – January 27, 2016

from Manila Bulletin

As validation process already kicked off for the next 450 megawatts of solar installation target, the Department of Energy (DOE) is giving bold prediction that this may not be met on the prescribed cut-off date of March 15 this year.

“We cannot attain full subscription, we just cannot commit because things may happen that may cause delays in project completion by March 15,” DOE acting undersecretary and Renewable Energy Management Bureau (REMB) head Mario Marasigan has noted.

Asked on how the project validation process has been moving, he averred “I can only describe it as challenging.”

At this stage, he emphasized that “most projects are at 80-percent completion and I cannot discount possibilities of project non-completion by March 15, 2016.”

This year’s March 15 cut-off period is relevant because that will be the reckoning date as to which new solar wind farms can qualify for the second wave of solar feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives.

As previously approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission, the FIT rate for the next qualified solar installations will be P8.69 per kilowatt-hour.

The energy department has jacked up the FIT-covered installations to 500MW from just 50MW initially.

The first batch had been oversubscribed, hence, that prompted DOE to consider the higher installation target – on account also of the approved lower FIT rate and the collapsing prices of solar technology in the world market.

As the race winds up though, Marasigan is indicating that the remaining stretch has been emerging as ‘tough wall’ for many players.

The energy official refused to give hints yet on which projects will finally make it to the finish line and be part of the next round of FIT incentives.

It has to be recalled that in the current filing of the National Transmission Corporation for FIT Allowance (FIT-All) with the industry regulator, the expected additional installations have already been factored in.