Solar project developments seen advancing aggressively

by Myrna Velasco, December 25, 2014
from Manila Bulletin

Within the sphere of renewable energy developments in the country, solar is seen gaining the most traction when it comes to capacity installations.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla had shared this sentiment as he hinted on various projects currently being tugged into implementation phases – albeit these are still being kept under the media’s radar.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla is shown inspecting the solar roof installation at the St. Scolastica’s College recently.

Even if the proposed increase in solar installation is still pending for regulatory approval, the energy chief has noted that “several companies are already quietly advancing on their own project developments.”

Based on data culled from the Department of Energy, the scale of solar power facilities that already advanced to commercial development reached 162 megawatts as of third quarter this year.

Five more projects had been bestowed with certificate of confirmation of commerciality (COC) by the energy department for a total additional capacity of 100MW.

These are the 20-MW Curimao solar power project in Ilocos Norte; 10-MW Pampanga solar power project; 30MW Macabud solar power development in Rizal; 30MW Leyte solar power project; and the 10-MW Digos solar power venture in Davao del Sur.

These had been on top of the 22-MW San Carlos solar power project in Negros Occidental and the 40-MW solar project of Majestics Energy Corporation. The two specified projects had been indicated to be beneficiaries of the first round of solar FIT incentives already approved by the Energy Regulatory Commission.

The energy department had opted to increase the installation cap for solar power developments – from initially just at 50MW to 500 megawatts. At the outset, this was intended to supposedly help shore up power supply on next year’s critical summer months.

Upon the DOE’s endorsement, the application was formally lodged by the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) with the ERC.

Nevertheless, there are several contentious issues being raised against the propounded hike in solar ventures, including probabilities that the Filipino consumers maybe stuck paying out-of-pocket subsidies over the long haul – and that could happen even with the anticipated continuous downfall in the cost of the technology.

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