PALO, Leyte: The Sulu Electric Power and Light Philippines Inc. (SEPALCO) and its partners unveiled on Thursday a 50-megawatt (MW) solar power facility in this town.

The $90 million solar power facility in Castilla village can withstand 250-kilometer per hour winds and will be ready to be connected to the existing 69-kilovolt transmission line of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) by this weekend.

Frank Huang, a Taiwanese investor and partner of SEPALCO, said a total 188 solar panels have been set up in a 70-hectare property. The solar panels are designed to absorb the sun’s rays as a source of energy for generating electricity.

“We wanted to achieve that the green society in the Philippines will start from this project, which is our first in the country,” he added.

The project, according to Huang, is designed for 25 years. It is guaranteed through a contract with the Department of Energy for 20 years and expandable for another five years.

Huang said they have a plan of increasing their investment in the Philippines by next year through a 100-MW solar facility.

Ben Castillo, SEPALCO president, said that the project was conceptualized after super Typhoon Yolanda ravaged several towns in Leyte and the city of Tacloban in 2014. The group started the project late last year.

“We thought of bringing the project to help alleviate the condition of the locals after the typhoon,” he added.

Huang is one of the prime movers of Buddhist Tzu Chi Foundation, one of the first groups who came to Leyte to comfort the victims.

Meanwhile, PetroSolar Corp. (PetroSolar) was given the Certificate of Endorsement-Feed-in-Tariff (COE-FIT) by the Department of Energy (DOE) for its 50 MW Tarlac Solar Power Plant.

The COE-FIT is needed by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to commence the processing of PetroSolar’s COC-FIT.

PetroSolar is owned by publicly-listed PetroEnergy, through its subsidiary, PetroGreen Energy Corporation (56 percent) and EEI Power Corporation (44 percent), a wholly-owned subsidiary of publicly-listed EEI Corporation.

“The DOE awarded the service contract to us in March 2015, and within seven months from award of construction and equipment supply contracts, we were able to complete the solar plant and start power export to the Luzon grid. We are pleased that we were able to achieve this milestone way ahead of the Mar. 15, 2016 deadline set by the DOE for solar projects aiming for the Feed-in- Tariff [FIT],” PetroSolar president Milagros Reyes said.

The facility, which has been exporting power to the Luzon grid since Jan. 27, 2016, was inaugurated on Mar. 3 at the power plant site in the PEZA-registered Central Technopark in Tarlac City.

Voltaire Palaña with report from PNA