The Philippines is expected to ramp up its renewable energy sources as Solar Philippines, the nation’s largest solar company, is eyeing 1-GW solar projects to start operations next year. In October 2021, the company announced it is setting up Solar Energy Zones, Inc. (SEZ) to host solar power projects on its 10,000 hectares of land, located in provinces located a few hours drive from Metro Manila – Batangas, Nueva Ecija, and Tarlac. The SEZ is inspired by solar parks in India where firms can utilize solar projects.
In the coming months, SEZ will announce future locators that will be constructing their solar projects in the next five years. Notably, the solar park in Nueva Ecija, with a 500-MW capacity, will become the largest in the Philippines and in Southeast Asia.
To finance the project, Solar Philippines, through its wholly-owned subsidiary, Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corp. (SPNEC), will be launching a PHP1.3 billion (USD 26 million) IPO at the Philippine Stock Exchange in December 2021. The IPO proceeds would fund the equity for the construction of the project’s first 225 MW capacity, with the possibility of raising more to advance the expansion of the project.
Construction of the project is planned to begin before 2021 ends and to be operational by 2022. Notably, Solar Philippines also plans to expand the 500-MW capacity to cater to growing clean energy demand in the Philippines after the Department of Energy (DOE) issued a moratorium on greenfield coal-fired power plants late last year.
Aside from the Nueva Ecija project, other components of Solar Philippines’ 1-GW solar projects are the:
- 63-MW project in Batangas with Korea Electric Power Corporation which is already operational;
- A project with Razon Group’s Prime Infra in Tarlac which is up for expansion at up to 200 MW; and
- Projects in Batangas and Cavite with a combined renewable energy capacity of 140 MW, which are expected to be fully operational by 2022.
The DOE aims for the country to expand its renewable energy resources during the Duterte administration and beyond. DOE data showed that between 2016 and 2020, some 7,399 megawatts of clean energy have been installed.
DOE Secretary Alfonso Cusi earlier said that the promotion of renewable energy, of which solar power has a big share, is part of the country’s commitment to the Paris Agreement on climate change. Additionally, during the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26), Secretary Cusi reaffirmed the country’s commitment to supporting the global initiative of shifting to a cleaner source of energy. Among the commitments made by the Philippines is the “rapid scale-up deployment of clean power generation”.
(Sources: Philippine News Agency; Manila Standard; Philstar Global)