Solar Philippines to break ground on world’s ‘largest’ solar farm this year

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SPNEC’s 4GW solar farm will be located in the northern region of Luzon, in the Philippines. Image: SPNEC.

Solar Philippines Neva Ecija Corporation (SPNEC) has planned to start constructing a 3.5GW solar farm in the Philippines later this year.

During its annual stockholders’ meeting on 8 June, the company said it aims to break ground later this year on its Nueva Ecija solar expansion project with a total planned capacity of 4GW which will be controlled by the company. This would make it the largest solar farm in the world, according to SPNEC.

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The project expansion will be located in the same region as its 500MW solar plant already under construction in the northern region of Luzon. The entire project – including the 500MW portion already under construction – comprises over 3,500 hectares of land acquired or being acquired.

The solar farm will begin commercial operation in 2026. It will contribute to the Philippines’ increased solar capacity in the coming years. PV Tech reported that the Philippines boasted 13GW of solar projects in the pipelines as of March 2022, a tenfold increase from the 1.3GW registered in March 2021.

“We have ongoing discussions on shareholding arrangements in certain of our projects, to find solutions that will benefit all parties,” said SPNEC’s CEO Leandro Leviste, adding: “Out of deference for these discussions and respect to our partners, we will not yet elaborate, other than to say that: We believe that it is in SPNEC’s interest to invest in projects where it has a controlling stake, and that SPNEC is best served by allocating its capital to projects where this is the case.”

Moreover, the majority of the proceeds of its capital raises have been invested towards the project, as the company has been consolidating land and permits for it since 2016, when SPNEC applied for the first Department of Energy solar energy service contract.

The project will also support the development of over 60km of transmission line to connect to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’s substations which supplies the Greater Manila Area.

Overall, the project’s total capacity would reach 4GW of solar power, nearly doubling the current solar farm, Bhadla Solar Park in the region of Rajasthan, India with a 2.2GW capacity. The project will also nearly treble the Philippines’ current installed solar capacity of 1.4GW at the end of 2022, according to SPNEC.

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