DOE eyes 500-MW solar power capacity by 2015

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THE Department of Energy (DOE) is considering the option to increase the feed-in-tariff (FIT) allocation for solar power projects in the country by as much as 450 megawatts (MW) by 2015, on top of the existing 50-megawatt allotment.

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This would mean that renewable energy developers would no longer have to compete against each other to get FIT allocations for just 50 MW of solar energy projects.

FIT is a framework designed to grow investment in renewable energy, with the DOE offering long-term contracts and guaranteed pricing to renewable energy firms.

“I want to put up additional solar [power projects]because the profile of solar really fits in [during]summer and we have the highest demand during summer,” Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla said on Monday. However, Petilla said the department will set a condition once the proposal to increase the FIT allotment for solar power projects is approved.

“We want to make it up to 500-MW on one condition—all the projects should be completed by March 15, 2015,” he said.

Right now, the FIT subsidy is P9.63 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) but according to Petilla, the DOE is trying to lower it to between P8.50 and P9 per kwh. The DOE chief clarified that while the move to increase solar power capacity under FIT is not yet final, it could materialize within the year.

In early 2013, the DOE set new criteria for allocating FIT eligibility to investors, one of them being that the first few to develop and finish their renewable energy projects will be awarded FIT eligibility.

A DOE official explained that under the new rule, those who can operate their renewable energy project first will be the first ones to get FIT eligibility.

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