France’s Urbasolar to invest P9B in PH in 2015

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Leading French solar company Urbasolar will be pouring in P9 billion of capital to build at least 100 megawatts (MW) of solar facilities in the Philippines this year.

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The French company has partnered with local firm SunAsia Energy to build an initial 30-MW solar plant in Victoria City, Negros Occidental.

According to Urbasolar, the capital came from a consortium of European “green” funders committed to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change.

Urbasolar, with headquarters in Montpellier in France, was part of the business delegation of visiting French President Francoise Hollande.

Urbasolar enjoys an 11 percent market share in the French solar space and covers all aspects of the value chain in the photovoltaic industry, from production of raw materials to advanced smart grid applications.

Its 200-MW factory, located in Venissieux, has been operating since April 2004 after taking over the PV plant from Bosch

SunAsia Energy president Tetchi Cruz-Capellan said their “collaboration” with Urbasolar began in September last year during the state visit of President Benigno Aquino 3rd to Paris.

“The European roadshow opened the doors for French investors to look closely at the emerging market in the Philippines and heed the government’s call to add capacity in the electricity market with the deployment of clean energy,” said Capellan.

Urbasolar considers the provisions in the Philippine Renewable Energy Law as an opportunity for green investments in Asia.

Capellan explained that the policy environment created by the increased solar installation in the country, totaling 500 MW to date, plus the growing Philippine economy hungry for more energy, enticed Urbasolar to invest in the Philippine electricity market.

“More importantly, Urbasolar saw the havoc brought by Typhoon Yolanda (Haiyan) in Leyte as an urgent call to action,” Capellan said.

Climate experts predict more intense typhoons will hit the Philippines in coming years as a sign of changing climate conditions.

“Adding 100 MW of solar energy into the generation mix of the Philippines will avoid significant CO2 emissions,” said Capellan.

About 86.8 kg of carbon emissions are displaced for every 100 kWp (kilowatt-peak) of solar power produced. This means that as much as 8.6 million kg of carbon emissions will be avoided when 100 MW of solar facilities are constructed by Urbasolar. This is equivalent to 160 hectares of forest surface.

Capellan said that the potential of solar energy in the Philippines is enormous,.
She added that the trip of French President Hollande and the signing of the cooperation agreement during the state visit drew attention to the rich renewable energy sources in the Philippines.

“The sun shines throughout the country for 12 hours every day. Such resource offers gigawatts of clean electricity to consumers and provides the national government with a powerful tool to reduce the country’s dependence on expensive fossil fuel and greenhouse gas emissions,” Capellan said.

Construction of the 30-MW solar power plant is scheduled to start in June this year and will be done in partnership with MIESCOR and the Development Bank of the Philippines.

VictoriaSolar Energy, headed by Rey Bantug, owner of the biggest ethanol plant in the Philippines, provides local strategic leadership with its experience in renewable energy business particularly solar energy.

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