The first phase of the Philippines’ first utility-scale solar power plant is now online.

Announced by German solar company, Conergy the plant was inaugurated at a ceremony today with President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.  

The first phase of the solar park is 13MW, which has now been connected. In the coming months the remaining 9MW will also come online, to total 22MW.  

Conergy is responsible for design and building, San Carlos Solar Energy owns the solar power plant and the project was financed by ThomasLloyd Group, and developed by local company, Bronzeoak Philippines.

The plant is nicknamed ‘SaCaSol’ and is located near San Carlos City, Negros Occidental province, once fully operational the plant will generate enough energy to power 13,000 homes.

It is most likely SaCaSol will be the first project to qualify for the Philippines’ feed-in tariff, which is capped at 50MW – leaving only 29MW for a pipeline of more than 1GW of proposed solar projects.

The Philippines has high economic growth of 6-7%, high electricity rates and frequent black outs, as well as being close to the equator perfect for harvesting the natural solar resources, which makes the country an ideal candidate for developing solar systems.

Alexander Lenz, president for Conergy Asia & Middle East, Conergy, said: “This is a big moment for the Philippines, where the country’s proximity to the Equator, high electricity prices and logistical complexity, offer huge potential.”

SaCaSol “will provide affordable, reliable power for businesses and citizens across San Carlos City, and offers a model for other parts of the country,” said Lenz.

Marc Lohoff, CEO for Asia Pacific, Conergy said the company hopes barriers to utility-scale solar continue to fall so it can help alleviate other energy problems in the country.

The Philippines has a renewables target of 15GW by 2030 to help combat climate change. The island nation is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its large coast lines, last November the country was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

The Philippines is also acclaimed by Geneva as having the best renewable energy laws in the world despite being responsible for a only 0.31% of global greenhouse emissions.

Solar Business Focus interviewed Anthony Conveney, head of financial structuring at Thomas Lloyd, on the opportunities in the South East Asia solar market.

Senator and environmentalist Loren Legarda spoke to Solar Business Focus on the Philippines' 1GW pipeline.

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