SAN CARLOS CITY, Negros Occidental: President Benigno Aquino 3rd opened a large-scale solar power plant on Thursday amid a tight power supply situation.
The facility in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, which was commissioned by San Carlos Sun Power Inc. (SaCaSun), has a total capacity of 59 megawatts (MW) per day.
In his speech, Aquino underlined the importance of renewable energy projects to the nation’s economy.
“As our nation moves forward, the challenge for us is to have enough reasonably priced dependable power supplies, balancing the goals of fulfilling the growth potential of our country, uplifting the lives of our countrymen, and protecting our environment,” the President said.
Sitting on a 75-hectare property in Barangay Punao, the P3.7-billion SaCaSun has been exporting power to the Visayas grid since March 9.
Aquino said the solar power farm is expected to generate more than 85 gigawatt-hours of clean electricity a year and power about 27,600 households. Its operations will avert 44,000 tons of carbon dioxide emission for over 20 years.
“The solar plant we are inaugurating today is certainly a step in the right direction. It is yet another reason for us to be optimistic and confident about the future,” he said.
“And this is apart from the basic benefits of such a project. While we have a current energy surplus in Visayas, it is imperative for us to react and prepare for future economic growth, and this plant offers an estimated additional 59 megawatts of capacity to the ever-growing Visayas region,” he added.
The President said 60 power projects are in the pipeline, 42 of which are “renewable.”
“The plant represents our commitment to support the government’s push for a balance of renewable and non-renewable power sources to address the country’s growing energy demand,” AboitizPower CEO Erramon Aboitiz said.
AboitizPower is one of the country’s largest producers of renewable energy, generating 1,263 MW or close to 40 percent of its total net salable capacity.
Aboitiz said it has employed more than 4,000 people, 80 percent of whom are residents of San Carlos City.
The 59-MW SaCaSun is only one of the many solar farms operating in Negros Occidental.
Bronzeoak Philippines also developed a solar farm which Aquino inaugurated in 2014.
Early this month, it inaugurated two other solar power plants in Manapla town and La Carlota City.
The province also houses the largest solar plant in Southeast Asia and the seventh biggest in the world. The 132-megawatt solar farm is located in Cadiz City.
Some 25-megawatt solar farm is also located in Silay City.
All renewable energy sources in the province are connected to the National Grid Power Corp.