Few solar projects sign up for incentives scheme
The bigger allocation for solar power capacity offered under the Feed-in-Tariff (FIT) incentive program has attracted only a few investors, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) said.
In a briefing, ERC chair Jose Vicente B. Salazar said the second wave of offering for a guaranteed power rate for solar projects only attracted about 360.41 megawatts (MW) of total capacity. The second wave offered a total of 450 MW.
Last year, the ERC expanded the solar power capacity under the FIT program to 500 MW from the original 50 MW but at a lower rate than the one sought by the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB). The move to expand the allocation was supported by the Department of Energy (DOE), which is aiming for less independence on fossil fuels to energize the country’s power highway.
The ERC approved a guaranteed rate of P8.69 per kilo-watt hour (kWh) for power projects eligible under the second wave of solar power allocation. The first 50 MW of capacity was able to get a guaranteed rate of P9.68 kWh.
Among the projects seeking FIT eligibility is the 20 MW solar power project of Mirae Asia Energy Corp., which recently came into operation. Mirae is a partnership between San Lorenzo Ruiz Builders and Developers Group, Inc. (SLRB) and Soleq, one of Southeast Asia’s largest independent solar power project developers.
Energy Undersecretary Mario Marasigan already said earlier that applications may not reach the target, but could at least be “close to it [target].” He said some companies had challenges with implementation considering that there was a March 2016 deadline set by the DOE.
Besides a fixed rate paid for power output, FIT incentives also allow investors to run their power plants for 20 years.
Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada earlier said the department would study whether the period for the next batches of offering should be shortened based on the actual performance of the program.
Besides Mirae, also up for FIT eligibility are the 132.49-MW project of Helios Solar Energy Corp., 58.98-MW project of San Carlos Sun Power, 50-MW project of PetroSolar Corp., 30 MW of ATN Phils. Solar Energy Group Inc., 18 MW of Negros Island Solar Power Inc., 14.5 MW of YH Green Energy, 13.82 MW of Solar Powered Agri-Rural Communities Corp., 13.14 MW of RASLAG Phase 2, 10.5 MW of Asian Greenergy Corp. and the 2.66-MW Burgos solar power project of Lopez-led Energy Development Corp.
The first 50 MW of solar power allocation under FIT earlier went to Zabaleta-led, European-funded San Carlos Solar Energy (SaCaSol). It was also the first-ever renewable energy developer to get incentives. SaCaSol Phase 1 (13 MW) and Phase 2 (9 MW) qualified.
The certificates for SaCaSol were issued on Feb. 16, 2015. The issuance marks the beginning of SaCaSol’s Renewable Energy Purchase Agreement (Repa) and its eligibility for renewable energy incentives under the FIT system.
SaCaSol Phase IA and IB began their commercial operation in May and August 2014, respectively.
Also part of the first 50 MW allocation for solar power under FIT is the 28-MW Cavite Economic Zone solar power project of Majestic Energy Corp.
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