Corporate News

By Krista A. M. Montealegre, Senior Reporter

Ayala-Bronzeoak’s Negros solar power venture starts operations

Posted on March 09, 2016

AYALA CORP. (AC) and its partner commenced the operation of the initial phase of a solar power project that expanded the energy portfolio of the Philippines’ oldest conglomerate beyond wind and coal.

Ayala, through AC Energy Holdings, Inc., and Bronzeoak Clean Energy, Inc. completed their 18-megawatt (MW) solar power farm last month, the former told the stock exchange yesterday. The project has been dispatching its entire capacity to the grid since then.

Monte Solar Energy, Inc. (MonteSol), the joint venture firm that owns and operates the solar farm, complied with all the requirements of the Department of Energy and the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines, the conglomerate said.

Located in Negros Oriental, the project is near the Cebu-Negros undersea cable and helps supply the growing daytime power requirements of Dumaguete and Cebu.

Built at a cost of P1.3 billion, the 18-MW project is the first phase of a 50-MW solar power farm that the joint venture has committed to complete.

Asked when MonteSol intends to start the expansion of the project, AC Energy Chief Executive Officer John Eric T. Francia said in a mobile phone message yesterday: “[We] will wait for guidance from government regarding FIT (feed-in tariff) policy moving forward.”

The FIT system offers cost-based compensation to renewable energy generators, providing price certainty and long-term contracts that help finance investments in clean energy. Solar projects are guaranteed to receive payment of P8.69 for each kilowatt hour they generate.

The venture with Bronzeoak signaled the Ayala group’s foray into solar power since much of the Ayala group’s renewable energy projects in the past years were wind farms -- the Bangui farm in Ilocos Norte and another in Pagudpud also in northern Philippines.

AC Energy also owns coal projects.

In 2014, Ayala dropped a project with Mitsubishi Corp. of Japan for the development of a 35-MW solar power farm in Davao, saying that the “economics of solar is difficult.”

The project with Ayala is part of four solar farms with a total capacity of 98-MW that was recently completed by Bronzeoak, builder of the 45-MW San Carlos Energy project -- the country’s first solar farm, the latter said in a statement.

Bronzeoak’s Negros Occidental solar facility was the first to avail of the premium rate for solar projects under the FIT scheme.

Shares in Ayala added P5 or 0.69% to close at P725 each on Tuesday.