San Carlos City, Negros Occidental: President Benigno Aquino 3rd urged the developer of the country’s first and biggest solar power plant to expand outside the Visayas region to meet the growing power demand in the country.
The San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. (Sacasol), the first large-scale commercially financed and commissioned solar power plant in the Philippines, officially started operations on Thursday.
During the inauguration of the project held in Negros Occidental, Aquino invited the developers of the project to put up more plants outside the Visayas region.
The 22-megawatt solar power project is being developed by Bronzeoak Philippines and Swiss-German firm ThomasLloyd.
“Sacasol is leading the way in solar power since this is the first solar project to be commissioned in the Visayas,” Aquino said.
“Perhaps I can invite Bron–zeoak Philippines to consider venturing outside of Negros Occidental—which currently hosts all your projects—and putting up even more power plants elsewhere in the Philippines, maybe as a continuation of this partnership with Thomas Lloyd Cleantech. Investments like this are what our country needs,” he further said.
Located at the San Carlos Ecozone in Negros, the project is being developed in two Phases: Phase 1 with 13 MW and Phase 2 with an additional 9 MW.
Phase 1, which involves approximately P2-billion worth of investment, was the one that started operations, while phase 2 is set for commercial operations by June this year.
In an interview, Sacasol Chairman Jose Maria Zabaleta told The Manila Times that the company is always on the lookout for opportunities outside Negros Occi–dental but for the meantime they still want to utilize all their resources in the province.
Zableta said the company is already gearing up for the development of four additional solar power plants in San Carlos to be operational by the summer of 2015.
“The success of this project [Sacasol] has opened the door for us to develop and finance other solar power plants,” the project chief said. For each plant, Zabaleta said they would invest about P2 billion.
Thomas Lloyd is a leading global investment banking and investment management group dedicated solely to the renewable energy and cleantech sectors, while Bronzeoak Philippines is a privately owned company that specializes in the renewable energy project development.
Meanwhile, Alexander Lenz, Conergy president for Asia and Middle East operations, said in a separate interview that Philippines is the most ideal place among other Southeast Asian countries to put up solar power plants in.
Conergy AG is a German-based firm that supplied the 22 solar power inverters and 88,000 photovoltaic modules for the whole Sacasol project.
Lenz described the country as an “ideal” place to invest in solar power plants because of its geographical location.
“We are also looking at other projects in the country with other companies. We just signed another 8-megawatt [solar power]project with another [local]firm to be developed within the year but we can’t disclose [the details]yet,” Lenz told the Times.
Conergy is also present in other Asian countries such as Thailand.