Coronavirus delays 135MW solar duo by Philippines utility

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The disease has impacted both upstream PV manufacturers and downstream installers in a variety of countries such as South Korea, India and Taiwan. Credit: Meralco

As global efforts to contain the coronavirus step up, the disease continues to affect the solar industry, with a subsidiary of major Filipino utility Meralco announcing that the commissioning of 135MW of solar projects has been delayed due to the virus outbreak.

Meralco PowerGen Corp’s (MGen) two PV projects in the Luzon provinces of Tarlac and Bulacan were due for completion towards the end of this year, according to the Philppine News Agency.

However, MGen president and CEO Rogelio Singson said on Monday that just 30% of the solar modules ordered from China for the Tarlac project have been shipped, with the rest delayed due to the coronavirus disease.

Furthermore, Chinese engineers contracted by MGen for the Bulacan solar project have been unable to reach the site due to a Philippines government travel ban to and from China, Hong Kong and Macau, aimed at halting the spread of the virus.

Despite the setback, Singson also reaffirmed MGen’s target of 1-1.2GW of renewable energy over the next five to seven years. including utility-scale solar, wind and hydropower projects supplying the Luzon grid.

“We are trying to do more renewables these coming months,” Singson said.

The coronavirus’ impact on supply chains in China has made itself felt among both upstream PV manufacturers and downstream installers in a variety of countries such as South Korea, India and Taiwan.

Indeed, in a similar case last week, India’s renewable energy secretary said the South Asian nation is considering extending solar commissioning deadlines in order to counter the disruption caused by the coronavirus on Chinese solar imports. India sources 80% of its solar modules from China.

Earlier this month, another major Filipino power firm – Aboitiz Power Corp – said it was in early-stage planning to invest nearly PHP34 billion (US$665 million) in around 1GW of wind and solar power in the Pangasinan province.

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