Solar PH targets 400-MW capacity by end-2018

By Jordeene Sheex Lagare – June 7, 2018
from The Manila Times

SOLAR Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. is targeting a capacity of 400 megawatts (MW) by the end of this year, its top official said on Wednesday.

“[W]e’re looking at 400 megawatts by the end of this year,” Solar Philippines President Leandro Leviste told reporters, referring to the projects they are constructing and completing at the moment.

Leviste said in March that the company’s portfolio had a capacity of 300 MW, either in operation or under construction.

Target locations include Tarlac, Cavite, Batangas, and smaller distributed projects with a total installed capacity of 400MW, Leviste said at the sidelines of the 13th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) 2018 hosted by the Asian Development Bank, the US Agency for International Development (USAID), the Korea Energy Agency, and the ADB Institute in Mandaluyong City.
“It is majority contracted, the balance of which we will be selling to contestable customers similar to the other coal power plants that have recently been inaugurated, such as Pagbilao for example, which are on a merchant basis,” he added.
At present, the company is completing minigrid projects in 10 towns by the third quarter, which are of similar size to its solar-battery micro-grid in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro, giving the town round-the-clock power supply.

“[W]e are completing 10 towns by next quarter of similar size to the one town we completed in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro earlier this year. The first two will be completed this month in Masbate, totaling 100,000 people that will have 24-hour electricity for the first time in their lives,” Leviste said, adding the facility will be equipped with solar batteries.

Cagayan, Isabela, Palawan, and Romblon are the other areas where the solar company plans to undertake its projects.

In March, Solar Philippines inaugurated its solar-battery farm, the largest in Southeast Asia, which has 2 MW solar panels, 2 megawatt hours (MWh) capacity and 2MW of diesel backup. It is designed to provide 24/7 power supply to the municipality at 50 percent lower cost than that of the local electric cooperative.

The facility is also the first to utilize Powerpacks from US energy storage firm Tesla, Inc.

Meanwhile, Leviste said Solar Philippines is deciding within the year on how it intends to expand its solar factory in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

“Our existing facility is already not enough to deal with local demand. Provided that we can develop a consistent stream of projects with our foreign sales, then we are considering ways to expand its production capacity,” Leviste said.

He added this is also to address demand for low-cost and high-quality solar panels primarily in the United States and the European Union, noting that the Philippines still has a cost advantage compared to panels imported from China because of preferential trade policies with the country.

Leviste earlier said Solar Philippines has 5,000 hectares of land that is being developed into solar farms with available interconnection that can be delivered by the day its largest customer, Manila Electric Co. (Meralco), needs it.

One hectare of land can accommodate 1 MW of solar power capacity, he said.