India’s Sterling & Wilson the latest international entrants to Philippines PV sector

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The solar engineering, procurement and construction (EPC) arm of Sterling & Wilson, an Indian mechanical, electrical and plumbing services company, will install its first Philippines-based PV plant.

Marking the latest entry by an international player into the country’s quickly rising solar industry, the 28.6MW power station in San Roque, Davao, in the south of the Philippines will be executed by Sterling & Wilson for the local subsidiary of developer Enfinity, headquartered in Belgium.

Construction of the project got underway in July, according to the EPC, and is expected to finish within six months of that date, despite Sterling & Wilson predicting that its team will work through “incessant rainfall, cyclones, land divided by creeks, and thunderstorms”.

The project, which will have a 28.6MW DC capacity and 24.75MW AC, will utilise central inverters and Hanwha Solar One’s 310W modules, sending power 8km to the national grid via a 69kV substation.

The Philippines currently has in place a feed-in tariff (FiT) scheme, run by the national Department of Energy’s ‘Philippines Solar Power Procurement Program’ for which the San Roque plant has been approved. The country’s FiT is capped at 500MW, an increase from an initially planned 50MW, but still far less than the 2GW ceiling solar trade groups are advocating for.

Other international companies have been drawn to the Philippines PV sector recently, including Schneider Electric and the EPC division of China Sunergy. These overseas entrants are not only drawn by the FiT’s incentive mechanisms – US thin-film giant First Solar has established a Philippines-focused joint venture (JV) to execute commercial and industrial projects on a long-term power purchase agreement (PPA) basis, for example.

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