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Solar PHL inaugurates Luzon’s biggest solar farm

Posted on March 16, 2016 09:45:00 PM [ ]

PRESIDENT Benigno S. C. Aquino III on Wednesday inaugurated the biggest solar farm in Luzon, adding to the renewable energy portfolio of the Philippines.

PRESIDENT BENIGNO S. C. Aquino III, Solar Philippines CEO Leandro L. Leviste, and Energy Undersecretary Donato D. Marcos attend the inauguration of the Calatagan Solar Farm, March 16. -- SOLAR PHILIPPINES

“Through projects like these, we are proving to the world that even developing countries such as ours can do their share in combating climate change,” Mr. Aquino was quoted as saying in a statement.

Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. developed, financed and built the 63.3 megawatt (MW) solar farm, which sits on a 160-hectare property in Calatagan, Batangas. With more than 200,000 solar panels, the facility is expected to supply enough power supply for the entire western part of the Batangas province.

During a projected operation life of 30 years, the solar farm is expected to offset at least a million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) emitted from burning fossil fuels. The replaced CO2 is equivalent to benefit brought to the environment by more than five million trees.

“Solar has just begun to realize its potential. It will soon not only be cleaner, but cheaper and more reliable than coal, and in a matter of years, supply the majority of our country’s energy needs,” Solar Philippines CEO Leandro L. Leviste was quoted in the same statement as saying.

The Calatagan facility’s inauguration comes a day after former US vice-president and Nobel Prize-winning climate change advocate Albert Arnold “Al” Gore, Jr. said the Philippines could become a 100% solar powered country due to the abundance of sunlight all year round.

As of the latest data from the Department of Energy, solar power plants accounted for only 0.55% or 102 MW of the country’s installed capacity as of mid-2015, and 0.47% or 75 MW of its dependable capacity.

The Calatagan solar farm was completed ahead of the March 15 deadline set by the Energy department for the installation of 500 MW under the country’s feed-in tariff (FIT) system. Under the FIT scheme, renewable energy developers are paid a fixed rate for the electricity they deliver to the grid, the interconnected transmission assets that bring power for distribution to consumers.

For solar projects, the rate was fixed at P9.68 per kilowatt-hour. Electricity consumers are billed a FIT allowance, the bulk of which are used to compensate renewable energy generation companies. The scheme is meant to encourage more power projects to be sourced from cleaner energy. -- Alden M. Monzon       

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