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Solar Philippines challenges latest bid for Meralco’s power supply

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SOLAR PHILIPPINES PRESIDENT LEANDRO L. LEVISTE — VICTOR V. SAULON

Solar Philippines Tarlac Corp. has offered to sell electricity to Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) at P2.34 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), challenging a previous offer from a competitor at P2.98 per kWh in a move that could become the latest benchmark in pricing solar energy.

“The first year is P2.34 [per kWh], and there’s an escalation and the levelized cost is still significantly below the original offer of P2.98,” Solar Philippines President Leandro L. Leviste told reporters.

“We submitted our offer many months ago and it had taken Meralco a long time to evaluate it. But now we’re hopeful that the proceedings will end soon since they have accepted it as the lowest price in the CSP (competitive selection process),” he said.

CSP is the government scheme aimed at lowering power costs by subjecting a power supply agreement to a price challenge. The original proponent is allowed to exercise a right to match the price offered by the challenger.

“Now [it’s] just subject to the original proponent’s exercise or non-exercise of the right to match,” said Mr. Leviste.

Mr. Leviste said the CSP was delayed because of a new regulation from the Department of Energy that called for new power supply agreements to be redone, this time with the distribution utility calling on power suppliers to submit their competitive bids.

He said Meralco had sought for clarification from the Energy department on whether the new rule covered the offer made to Meralco earlier this year.

“Overall, we just hope that this is yet another signal to the market that solar is the cheapest form of energy in the Philippines, and even with [battery] storage,” he said, adding that his offer could result in the country having one of Asia’s lowest cost of electricity. — Victor V. Saulon