Solar power glut feared in Negros

by Alena Mae S. Flores – January 12, 2016 at 11:57 pm

from Manila Standard

Aboitiz Power Corp. has expressed concern over the stability of the Visayas grid in the wake of the strong concentration of solar power projects in the area, an official said.

Aboitiz Power chief executive Erramon Aboitiz told reporters that as much as 300 megawatts of solar power capacity was being built in Negros Occidental compared with the demand of only about 200 MW in the entire area.

“This is a concern. Too much of a good thing ends up to be a bad thing. That’s what’s happening in Negros today. I believe it’s about 300 MW of solar capacity when the demand of whole of Negros is 200 MW,” Aboitiz said.

He said the power generated from the plants must be transmitted to where it is needed.

“When all the generation is there, where will the power go? We have constraints to remit power to Cebu, other parts of the Visayas,” he said.

“When the plant cannot produce because there is no transmission line, it loses money.”

Aboitiz also said authorities should also look at the impact of the intermittent nature of solar to the power grid.

“When it starts raining, all of the sudden the production go down. So how will Negros get the power it needs. All of these things have to be taken into consideration and that’s why… we should have a mix. We should not be over dependent on one thing,” he said.

Aboitiz Power and partner SunEdison are set to complete the 59-MW San Carlos Sun (SaCaSun) solar farm in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental by March, which will become one of the biggest solar power plants in the country.

“What adds complexity to these power projects is not just building power plants, you have to combine it with transmission lines and too many other things. This is where all the stakeholders in the industry should be collaborating and working together to make sure we coordinate efforts,” Aboitiz said.

Aside from Aboitiz Power, several companies have lined up solar power projects in Negros.

Negros Island Solar Power Inc., or islaSol, is building a 40.7-MW solar power plant in Manapla, Negros Occidental, while a 45-MW solar power facility owned by San Carlos Solar Energy in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental is operating.

Monte Solar, meanwhile, is putting up an 18-MW solar power plant in Bais, Negros. A 100-MW solar power project is also being constructed by Phil Power Exploration and Development Corp. in Negros Occidental.