SOLAR PHILIPPINES Power Project Holdings, Inc. has entered the renewable energy sector in India with the construction of a 500-megawatt (MW) solar farm, its top official said.
“We already have our first project in India,” Leandro L. Leviste, president of Solar Philippines, told reporters last week, but declined to give details because of the issues faced by his proposed minigrid franchise in the Philippines.
“Ayaw lang namin guluhin ang kuwento (We just don’t want to muddle the story),” he said, when asked to elaborate. “But this year we’ll have around 500 MW of projects in India.”
Mr. Leviste first disclosed in May last year his company’s plan to venture in India, which he described as having a favorable regulatory environment.
Asked about his company’s partner in India, he said: “We don’t do partnerships in India. The beauty of India is the very low barrier to entry to develop grid-connected power projects in solar parks, as what they are called, with land and transmission provided by the government.”
“So any company in the world, with no local ownership condition can come in and bill P2.00 per kilowatt-hour (kWh), and basta P2.00/kWh makakakuha ka ng kontrata (as long as it is P2.00/kWh, you’ll get a contract),” he added.
Mr. Leviste had said the solar power rates in India are in the range of P2 to P3/kWh, although the capacity at stake is in thousands of megawatts. That range compares to the P2.34 per kWh offered by his company to distribution utility Manila Electric Co.
“In the last tenders of India, they awarded more than a thousand megawatts to just one company in one go. So we’re hopeful that by bringing the cost of solar energy down to India levels in the Philippines, we’ll be able to convince utilities and policymakers to unlock that same volume,” he said in a previous interview.
He said every year, India awards around 20,000 MW of solar energy as the country targets to have a solar capacity of 100,000 MW by 2022.
For Solar Philippines, the target capacity in India is dependent on the number of contracts it signs in the Philippines as the balance of what has not been taken up of its solar panels will be filled by the overseas market, Mr. Leviste had said.
In the Philippines, the company has around 300 MW of solar energy, either operating or under construction, he said last year. He expected the number to reach 400 MW end-2018.
The company has a manufacturing plant in Sto. Tomas, Batangas that produced solar panels with an equivalent capacity of 800 MW in 2017. Its target output in 2018 was 2,000 MW. — Victor V. Saulon