Meralco unit to invest P200B in PH’s biggest solar farm
MANILA -The renewable energy unit of distributor Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) plans to spend P200 billion to help develop what is slated to be the country’s largest solar farm that will be built by businessman Leandro Leviste’s company.
Meralco chair Manuel V. Pangilinan on Monday said the amount would also fund the development of battery energy storage systems (BESS) that would ensure backup supply availability, especially at night and in the event of shortages.
“It’s exciting, it’s a big project. It has attracted a lot of interest from foreign investors because it’s big. It’s transformative for the Philippines,” Pangilinan told reporters.
To recall, Meralco renewable energy firm MGen Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen) took majority control of Leviste’s SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC) last month via a P15.9-billion share subscription deal.
This will make MGreen the controlling stakeholder of SPNEC with 50.5 percent voting interest.
MGreen had said that the fund would be used for the construction and expansion of SPNEC’s projects, including a 3,500-megawatt (MW) solar farm in Luzon, along with 4,000 megawatt-hours of BESS.
According to Pangilinan, they are hoping to close the deal by year-end, as SPNEC aims to energize the first phase of the project, equivalent to around 600 MW of capacity, by the first quarter of 2026.
MGreen had agreed with Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings Inc. to use SPNEC as the primary vehicle to develop the solar project, which is larger than the combined 1,531-MW capacity of all solar projects in the Philippines as of August this year. It will need around 4,000 hectares of land due to its size.
Asked whether SPNEC had secured the required space for the project, Pangilinan said “they have made significant progress,” adding that Leviste’s company had already acquired around 50 percent of the land needed.
Leviste first announced the project in January this year, saying that they planned to secure land in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan provinces.
SPNEC, which was founded only in 2013, aims to spend P400 billion to expand its portfolio capacity to 10,000 MW. The company’s portfolio currently includes over 400 MW of projects.