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Solar power installation goal to be hiked by DOE

MANILA, Philippines—The Department of Energy (DOE) is firming up plans to raise its solar power installation target under the Feed-in-Tariff scheme to 10 times more than the present allocation.

This was announced amid increasing electricity demand and anticipated spells of sunny days that could dry up hydropower plants.

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“We are working on it. Very soon, NREB (National Renewable Energy Board) will endorse the new installation target for solar,” DOE director for renewable energy Mario C. Marasigan said via text message.

Asked whether the new target would be set at 500 megawatts (MW)—10 times the current 50MW—Marasigan confirmed that DOE and NREB “are working on that figure.”

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The Energy Regulatory Commission’s (ERC) approval is needed for the proposed new allocation and it is asking for NREB’s endorsement for the same. The DOE’s FIT allocation for solar power is only 50MW but so far 80MW of capacity have been committed by various players.

Just last May 15, the joint venture Bronzeoak Philippines Inc. and European asset management firm Thomas Lloyd Group opened the first phase of its 22-MW solar power project in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental. Some 13MW has been made available with the opening of the first phase while work is continuing to bring the rest of the solar farm’s capacity online. The project is said to be the first FIT-qualified solar project to go live.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla has already said he hopes the allocation can be amended within the year. DOE wants to allow more solar power development with guaranteed power rates in order to boost supply during summer and, since climate change means the El Niño phenomenon could strike anytime, during dry spells that make supply tight and demand high.

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TAGS: Energy, Philippines, renewable energy, solar power, solar power project
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