SunAsia, Blueleaf investing $1.7B in floating solar project on Laguna Lake
MANILA -Renewable energy developer SunAsia Energy Inc. and partner Blueleaf Energy will invest up to $1.7 billion in the development of a large-scale floating solar project, seen to be the biggest of its kind in the world.
This comes after the Department of Energy (DOE) awarded the initial six solar energy operating contracts to the two companies on Wednesday.
The solar facilities, which will have a combined capacity of 610.5 megawatts (MW), will be installed on the water surface of Laguna Lake, spanning the cities of Calamba, Santa Rosa and Cabuyao, as well as the towns of Bay and Victoria.
A total of 10 contracts are set to be awarded for the project, according to Raghuram Natarajan, Blueleaf chief executive officer.
“As an active investor in sustainable infrastructure in the Asia Pacific region, we believe the Philippines holds great potential to add significant renewable energy capacity to its energy mix, and at the same time delivering green energy at an affordable cost compared to fossil fuels,” he said.
Natarajan added that $1.5 billion to $1.7 billion in capital investment would be needed to fund the project that is set to begin construction in the next two years.
Compared with land-based plants, floating solar plants have water to help cool the panels, allowing the facilities to become more efficient.
SunAsia president and chief executive officer Tetchi Capellan said studies on the ecosystem of Laguna Lake began in 2019 to ensure that the solar panels could properly adapt to the lake’s environment.
“With the issuance of our operating contracts, we are in the best position to complete our pre-development work,” she said.
Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla welcomed the new project, saying it represented “an additional strategic investment and a firm commitment to strengthen the country’s renewable energy sector.”
He added that the floating solar projects would be more cost-efficient without having to occupy usable land mass that could be used for other sectors, such as agriculture.
The DOE has awarded a total of 237 solar energy contracts to date with an aggregate installed capacity of 1,282 MW and potential capacity of 21,452 MW, generating around P8.46-billion investments for the country.