The Philippines will soon surpass 1,000 megawatts (MW) of solar generation capacity under the Renewable Energy law, with nearly 100 MW due to come online by April, and the recent groundbreaking for a 150 MW facility in Tarlac that is expected to be operational next year.
As of the end of 2016, Department of Energy (DOE) figures showed that the Philippines had 903 MW of installed solar PV capacity under its Renewable Energy Law, 900 MW of which is grid-connected, with the remainder in the self-consumption category. The data did not include an estimated 55 renewable energy projects built under different laws.
The DOE said that a total of 150 grid-connected projects and 16 self-consumption projects have been awarded, with a total potential capacity of nearly 4,082 MW.
Another 94.2 MW of solar PV projects are expected to be put into commercial operation this month, the DOE said.
So far, all of the solar projects are in Luzon or the Visayas, although a total of 338 MW of projects are undergoing feasibility studies or are in various stages of development in Mindanao.
Projects that will come online in Luzon include an 18 MW installation by Next Generation Power Technology; a self-consumption installation by CW Marketing and Development; and two projects under the Solar Powered Agri-Rural Communities (SPARC) initiative, one of 3.82 MW and the other of 5.02 MW. In addition, there are projects with a total potential capacity of 1,179 MW being planned or developed in Luzon.
In the Visayas, two projects – a 5.67 MW facility by Cosmo Solar Energy, and SunAsia Energy’s 60 MW solar plant – will shortly be operational. Another 465 MW of projects are under consideration or being developed.
The DOE said that as of December 31, 2016, there were a total of 201 pending applications for solar energy projects across the entire country, with an aggregate capacity of 2,131 MW.
Tarlac plant ready at end-2017
On March 18, renewable energy firm Solar Philippines broke ground for a 150 MW solar PV plant in at Concepcion, Tarlac.
The project will use locally sourced modules and is set to power the equivalent of 300,000 households once completed by the end of 2017, the DOE said.
At the groundbreaking ceremony, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi said, “Currently, the country’s power demand is at 13,000 MW and our supply is barely 14,000 MW, hence we need more power as well as reserve power.”
The Tarlac plant will apparently also include a battery storage facility, but no details of that were provided by the DOE or Solar Philippines.
Cusi noted, “Solar power plants with reliable storage capability can be most useful in island countries like the Philippines.”