Aboitiz launches first solar venture
Aboitiz Power Corp., which inaugurated its first solar power plant in Negros Occidental province, has expressed optimism that the Department of Energy will find a way to address concerns of solar power developers, including the company’s subsidiary, with regards to qualifying for the feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentive scheme.
Its subsidiary, San Carlos Sun Power Inc. (SacaSun), inaugurated the 59-megawatt (MW) solar power plant in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental on April 19, 2016. The project started delivering energy to the Visayas grid on March 9, 2016, a few days before the March 15 deadline imposed by the Department of Energy (DOE) for solar power projects under the FIT.
SacaSun’s clean and renewable power output is expected to qualify for FIT incentives and get priority dispatch in the electricity spot market under the FIT rate for solar power at P8.69 per kilowatt-hour, AboitizPower said.
Asked whether AboitizPower’s solar power project qualified for FIT and what its options are if it does not, company president and COO Antonio Moraza said, “We will have to await action of DOE. (I) am sure they will find a resolution to over-subscription.”
Moraza, however, admitted that without FIT incentives in the form of guaranteed rates per kilowatt-hour of power produced, current solar projects were not likely to be viable.
Solar power producers are asking the DOE to bare its tentative list of qualified projects for FIT-solar incentives and how the department decided on which project made it and which ones did not. The Philippine Solar Power Alliance or PSPA said there were about 250 MW of solar power projects that might fall out of the FIT running, which in theory would only accommodate projects with a combined capacity of 500MW.
The 59-MW SacaSun project is seen to deliver 82 gigawatt-hours a year of clean and renewable energy to the Visayas grid.
“AboitizPower is one of the country’s largest producers of renewable energy and our clean energy portfolio generates 1,263 MW, or about 40 percent of our total net sellable capacity. This represents our commitment to support the government’s push for a balance of renewable and non-renewable power sources to address the country’s increasing energy demand,” AboitizPower CEO Erramon I. Aboitiz said.
The SacaSun project sits on a 75-hectare property in San Carlos Ecozone in barangay Punao, San Carlos City on Negros Island.
The project, whose construction started in August 2015, employed more than four thousand workers throughout the construction phase. About 80 percent of the hired workers came from the host community of San Carlos City and about a third or 1,500 of whom were women.
The women assembled parts of the solar panels, while the men and technicians carry the assembled parts for installation in the solar farm.
AboitizPower is one of the Philippines’ leading developer and operator of renewable energy power plants, mostly from its vast portfolio of hydro and geothermal power plants and, now, solar.
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