Concepcion, Tarlac, Philippines The local unit of Belgium-based solar energy developer Enfinity N.V. has started construction of its P3.6-billion, 50.55-megawatt (MW) solar project in Concepcion, Tarlac, which is targeted to start commercial operations within the first quarter of 2016.
Enfinity Philippines Renewable Sources Inc. held yesterday the groundbreaking rites for its Concepcion solar power project located in a 54.795-hectare land in the province, the biggest in the country to-date.
“With regard to this site, this is one of the original sites that we wanted to build back in 2010. Now after almost five years, this will be the biggest one, not only for us but in the country as well,” Enfinity Philippines president Dennis C. Ibarra said in an interview during the groundbreaking ceremony.
He said the project has a total investment cost of P3.6 billion for 157 panels. Of the total, P750 million will be used to pay for leases to over 30 land owners of the entire site, which used to be sugarcane farmlands.
“The leases have been paid with the landowners. We believe our company is different from other companies. We believe in sharing with everybody. They’re leasing their land to us so they’ll take care of it for us because it’s their income in the next few years,” Ibarra said.
The company official also noted the solar panels will be installed within five months or by year-end.
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This will allow Enfinity Philippines to meet the March 2016 deadline to avail of incentives under the feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.
Under the FIT, eligible renewable energy (RE) developers will be given a set of incentives for their RE projects
For solar developments, the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) adopted the new P8.69 per kilowatt-hour (kwh) FIT rate for 500-MW allocation for this technology.
Enfinity Philippines has tapped two contractors for the project, namely Meralco Industrial Engineering Services Corp. (Miescor) and Indian solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) firm Sterling and Wilson.
Ibarra said 400 to 600 workers will be hired for the installation of solar panels, and once it is completed, the project will have around 100 employees for maintenance and security of the plant.
The project will be directly connected to the National Grid Corp. of the Philippines in Sta. Rosa, Concepcion, Tarlac.
“The power coming from this 50-MW peak plant is about 75 million kilowatt hours, or 75 gigawatt hours, enough to supply 120,000 people,” Ibarra said.
The Concepcion solar farm is among the four projects Enfinity targets to complete within the year. The other projects are located in Clark, Pampanga in San Roque, Digos, Davao and in Cavite.
So far, the company is pouring in an initial $180 million or roughly P8 billion for these projects.
In the next three years, Enfinity Philippines aims to build a portfolio of 500 MW of solar power plants.