SOLAR Philippines has formed a new business called Solar Energy Zones, Inc. (SEZ) which seeks to develop areas conducive to hosting solar facilities for other power companies.

In an e-mailed statement over the weekend, the renewable energy (RE) firm said SEZ is in the process of finalizing agreements covering 10,000 hectares to develop solar energy zones, which will be mostly located near its existing power projects in Batangas, Tarlac, and Nueva Ecija.

SEZ will be separate from the group’s power plant business. It aims to address the scarcity of new sites for solar technologies amid increasing demand.

“Our aim is no longer to compete with the country’s power companies, but to enable them to build projects, to ensure that solar soon becomes the largest source of new energy in the Philippines,” said Solar Philippines Founder Leandro L. Leviste.

“Our solar energy zones will make it easy for any of these power companies that decide to build solar to locate in these zones and start construction that same year,” he added.

Solar Philippines said the solar energy zones are inspired by India’s solar parks where companies co-locate solar projects in sites with common facilities that benefit from economies of scale. This arrangement is said to help India lower the renewable energy technology’s barriers to entry.

In the coming months, Solar Philippines is set to announce projects from power firms which will be built in the said zones over the next five years. It claimed that the capacity of these will increase the share of solar in the country’s power generation mix.

Previously, the Energy department announced Solar Philippines Retail Electricity, Inc., a subsidiary of Solar Philippines, as the 14th participant of the government’s green energy option program (GEOP).

GEOP allows consumers using at least 100 kilowatts of power to source RE from an accredited retail electricity supplier. — Angelica Y. Yang