PHASE 1 of the planned 28.6-megawatt peak (MWp) solar farm project of Belgian firm Enfinity S.A. in Digos, Davao del Sur is targeted for commercial commissioning in the first quarter of next year, an official of the company said.
Enfinity is investing a total of P2 billion for phase 1 of the project.
About 20 percent of the expense component had been earmarked for local elements like civil works, concrete and other materials as well as wages.
The utility-scale solar plant will be equipped with photovoltaic (PV) panels to be supplied by Hanwha of South Korea.
The Digos solar farm is now advancing to full construction phase following the issuance of a “notice to proceed” by the Department of Energy (DOE).
Sterling and Wilson of India is the international engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contractor and Miescor serves as the local contractor.
William Ruccius, business development director of Enfinity Asia Pacific Holdings Ltd., said the project will be commissioned just in time for the strike of the high-demand months of summer.
He said the Digos solar facility will be a valuable capacity addition that can help plug the generation deficiency in the Mindanao grid, especially during the critical summer months.
Mindanao is forecast to experience tight supply next year as hydropower generation is expected to be affected by another El Nino climate event. Hydropower facilities remain the grid’s major power supply source.
Power availability in the grid is also aggravated by the delays in the commercial operation of some coal plants that have been aligned for its baseload capacity requirement.
“Solar production matches with the power demand as the generation is during the peak time of day and the maximum generation occurs in the hot summer months when the sun is directly overhead and seasonal demand is highest,” said Ruccius.
He also pointed out the competitive value proposition that solar power can now provide for the Mindanao grid’s need for peaking power, a cheaper cost option compared to the traditional source wh ich had been generally diesel plants.
“Solar is a low-cost solution to peaking power today and as the cost continues to come down in the near future, it will take a bigger share of the generation load,” Ruccius said.
Ruccius has noted that “employment will peak about 500 during construction and there will be about 50 jobs during operation.”
Enfinity said job fairs have been held in four barangays “to screen and process local applicants for these jobs.”
A phase 2 of the project is also planned for a 15-MWp installation in a 20-hectare site.
“We are in discussions with electric cooperatives in Mindanao to supply power through long-term power purchase agreements on the phase 2 and other projects,” Ruccius said.