AC ENERGY, Inc. and its Vietnamese partner have signed construction and financing deals to expand the capacity of their solar farm in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province to make it the biggest in Southeast Asia, its parent firm told the stock exchange on Monday.
“We are excited to scale up our development initiatives in Vietnam. We expect to build on this momentum and add more projects in the future,” said Eric T. Francia, AC Energy’s president and chief executive officer, said in a statement.
With the signing of the engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) contract and the project financing, AC Energy and BIM Group of Vietnam expect to increase the solar farm size from the 30 megawatt-peak (MWp) that broke ground early this year to 280 MWp.
“The joint venture plans to further expand the capacity to well over 300 MWp. Once completed, the solar farm will become the largest in Southeast Asia. The project is expected to commence operations in time for the June 2019 solar feed-in tariff deadline,” AC Energy parent Ayala Corp. said.
The Ayala’s energy business arm said its project is estimated to cost around $237 million, which will be financed by debt and equity. AC Energy will participate with a 30% voting stake and about 50% economic share, it added.
AC Energy described BIM Group as a diversified corporation with businesses in tourism development and real estate investment; agriculture — food; commercial services; and renewable energy.
“BIM Group has a significant experience in business development in Ninh Thuan, the host province for the solar project,” it added.
Mr. Francia last month said that he expects 70% AC Energy’s target renewable energy capacity of 1,000 MW by 2020 to come from foreign projects, including its investments in Vietnam, Indonesia and Australia.
In April last year, AC Energy and its joint venture partners completed the acquisition of Chevron Corp.’s geothermal assets and operations in Indonesia, further boosting AC Energy’s renewable energy portfolio in that country after earlier investing in a wind farm.
The Chevron deal gave AC Energy a 19.8% stake in the 637-MW geothermal steam and power capacity in Darajat and Salak geothermal fields along with its 75% stake in the 75-MW wind farm project in Sidrap, South Sulawesi. These acquisitions more than doubled the company’s clean energy capacity to at least 264 MW.
AC Energy has more than $1 billion of invested and committed equity in renewable and thermal energy in the Philippines and around the region. It aspires to surpass 5 gigawatts of attributable capacity and generate at least 50% of energy from renewables by 2025. — Victor V. Saulon