Macquarie fund buys majority interest in Negros solar plant

Posted on November 02, 2015

THE PHILIPPINE Investment Alliance for Infrastructure (PINAI) has acquired a majority stake in a solar power plant in Negros Occidental province, building up its investment in renewal energy in the country.

San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc.’s solar power plant --
With the acquisition of the 80-megawatt (MW) Negros Island Solar Power, Inc. (islaSol), infrastructure fund PINAI brings its solar assets in the Philippines to 125 MW. The deal comes after it acquired the 45-MW San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc. (Sacasol) also in the same province.

In a statement, Bronzeoak Philippines said that it remains a shareholder and the operator of islaSol, a power plant that it developed. The project comprises two solar farms in Negros Occidental, with 32 MW located in La Carlota and 48 MW in Manapla. Both plants are under construction and are scheduled to be finished in early 2016.

PINAI, which has $625 million for infrastructure investment, is managed by Macquarie Infrastructure and Real Assets (MIRA). It is a partnership among the Government Service Insurance System, Macquarie Group and Asian Development Bank.

In the statement, Bronzeoak Philippines also said APG Asset Management had acquired a minority stake in islaSol alongside PINAI. It described APG as a strong supporter of increased investments in sustainable energy generation.

The Sacasol and islaSol solar farms are eligible for the government’s feed-in tariff program, a scheme that requires the power sector to source electricity from renewable energy generation at a guaranteed fixed price for a given period.

Jose Maria P. Zabaleta, Bronzeoak Philippines president, said: “PINAI’s acquisition of islaSol represents the fund’s strong commitment to building the country’s clean energy infrastructure. We are delighted to expand our partnership with the country’s leading infrastructure fund, its investors, as well as with its manager, MIRA, a global leader in infrastructure investment and asset management,”

Construction at islaSol’s sites started in August 2015. When connected, the farms are expected to supply over 120,000 kilowatt-hour of daytime peak power to the Luzon-Visayas grid. The Sacasol and islaSol plants are estimated to deliver electricity to around 200,000 homes.

In mid-October, the president of German company Conergy Asia & ME Pte. Ltd. identified the two solar power plants as the new contracts it had won. It said it had been providing technical and consultancy services to Bronzeoak Philippines together with a local service contractor for the operation of the Sacasol plant.

“With the signing of these two new contracts, by early 2016 Conergy would have built a total of 274 MWp [megawatt-peak] of solar capacity in the Philippines, sufficient to supply over 171,300 homes in the country,” Conergy’s Alexander Lenz had said. -- Victor V. Saulon