By Victor V. Saulon, Sub-Editor

Solar projects eligible for FiT named

Posted on June 22, 2016

THE DEPARTMENT of Energy (DoE) has endorsed seven solar projects to receive a subsidized rate of P9.68 for each kilowatt-hour (kWh) they feed into the electricity distribution or transmission network while 17 others are to get P8.69 per kWh, ending speculation about the outcome of its installation target for the renewable energy.

In a statement, Energy Secretary Zenaida Y. Monsada said her department, through the Renewable Energy Management Bureau, had “worked day and night to ensure that each eligible solar developer strictly followed the process and technical requirements.”

The 24 solar projects that were endorsed to receive the guaranteed feed-in-tariff (FiT) rate for 20 years were developed by 20 companies, which in all have installed 525.95 megawatts (MW) or 25.95 MW more than the department’s target of 500 MW.

Ms. Monsada said the DoE had the best interests of the public and renewable energy developers in mind while “meeting the country’s commitment towards sustainable and cleaner energy.”

The DoE said the implementation of FiT rules was “in full swing” and followed its guidelines for the selection process and the award of the certificate for FiT eligibility. It said it issued the certificates after undergoing validation and review of technical requirements.

Based on the DoE’s list, Helios Solar Energy Corp.’s 132.50-MW project remains the country’s biggest solar project to receive a guaranteed rate. Solar Philippines Calatagan Corp.’s 63.3-MW solar farm in Batangas is a distant second, with PetroSolar Corp.’s 50.07-MW project in Tarlac in third place. All three will get a FiT rate of P8.69 per kWh.

Rounding out the top five are Majestic Energy Corp.’s 41.30-MW Cavite Economic Zone solar power project and Phil. Solar Farm-Leyte, Inc.’s 30-MW Ormoc solar power project. The two will get a rate of P9.68 per kWh.

The other companies that were endorsed for FiT eligibility are San Carlos Solar Energy, Inc. (for three projects), Enfinity Philippines Renewable Resources, Inc., Mirae Asia Energy Corp., Monte Solar Energy, Inc., Bulacan Solar Energy, Inc., YH Green Energy Corp., Raslag Corp. (for two projects), Asian Greenergy Corp., First Cabanatuan Renewable Ventures, Inc., Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc., nv vogt Philippines Solar Energy One, Inc., SPARC Solar Powered Agri-Rural Communities Corp., Energy Development Corp. (for two projects), Absolut Distillers, Inc. and Solar Philippines Commercial Rooftop Projects, Inc.

Sought for comment, Ma. Theresa C. Capellan, founder of the Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA), said her group of 40 developers was urging the government “to be transparent and forthright in disclosing the parameters for FiT eligibility.”

“Are these the only companies eligible to the FiT 2? Those companies not included deserve some explanation as they invested billions of pesos in providing capacity to the national grid,” she said.

She added that the alliance “suggests for government to secure the data of the market operator in resolving the confusion over the program.”

“There has to be clarity on the qualification of the FiT as some companies are lost as [to] why they were excluded,” she added.

Ms. Monsada previously said that the 500-MW installation target was exceeded by around 300 MW. She said she would leave it to the next administration as to how it would resolve the rate for those that failed to make it to the DoE list.

The department originally set a target of 50 MW with a guaranteed FiT rate of P9.68 per kWh, but the allocation was revised in April 30, 2014 to 500 MW, with the Energy Regulatory Commission lowering the rate on March 15, 2015 to P8.69 per kWh, but only until March 15, 2016. The incentive scheme is called for under Republic Act 9513 or the Renewable Energy Law of 2008.

Under the FiT system, qualified developers of emerging renewable sources are offered a fixed rate per kWh of their exported electricity, but excluding the energy for their own use. Their entitlement is taken from a “feed-in-tariff allowance” billed to all on-grid electricity consumers who are supplied with power through the distribution or transmission network.

The FiT system is one of the policy mechanisms provided in the law being implemented by the DoE to encourage the development of the renewable energy industry as the agency aims to maintain a 30% share of clean energy in the country’s power mix.

The current FiT rate represents a premium compared with what solar power developers would get if they sell their output via the wholesale electricity spot market. Some developers have also said that the cost of solar has gone down by 50% of the original FiT rate of P9.68 per kWh.

For other renewable energy technology, wind has also exceeded the first installation target of 200 MW by 49.9 MW with an approved FiT rate of P8.53 per kWh. The second 200 MW target with a FiT rate of P7.40 per kWh was not fully subscribed as only 144 MW was taken up by developers.

For hydroelectric power projects, only 26.6 MW of the 250-MW target was taken up by developers. Appetite for biomass was also low at 101.451 MW or less than half of the 250-MW allocation.

In all, of the DoE’s 1,400-MW allocation for FiT-eligible renewable energy projects, a total of 1,047.9 MW was taken up by generation companies.