Solar Philippines to build ‘world’s largest solar project’ with 4GW capacity

By Tom Kenning

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SPNEC plans to acquire 2,500 hectares for its giant PV cluster in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, pictured, using proceeds from various capital raises. Image: Solar Philippines

The listed subsidiary of PV project developer Solar Philippines is planning to add a 3.5GW solar farm to its 500MW system already under construction on the Northern Filipino region of Luzon, which the company claims would make it the largest PV project in the world.

Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation (SPNEC) plans to acquire another 2,500 hectares for this giant PV cluster in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Bulacan using proceeds from various capital raises. These included a previously announced stock rights offering (SRO) and private placements with institutional investors to raise at least PHP10 billion (US$195 million) as well as plans for an asset-for-share swap with parent company Solar Philippines. These announcements came shortly after SPNEC had made its debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange in December 2021.

Standing at 4GW cumulative capacity, the planned project would surpass the world’s current largest solar project, the Bhadla Solar Park in Rajasthan, India, which stands at more than 2,245MW.

Solar Philippines has been able to plan a project of such scale by working to secure land and permits since 2016. The bunching of projects will also help the company capitalise on the transmission infrastructure already under construction for the initial 500MW plant, which will stretch 60 kilometres to the Greater Manila Area, one of the world’s largest metropolises.

“Over the years, others did not believe these ranchlands far from the grid could be the site for a solar farm,” said Solar Philippines founder Leandro Leviste. “By the end of this year, our planned share issuances should result in the consolidation of ingredients that would enable SPNEC to expand its flagship project to be the world’s largest solar farm.”

In June this year, Solar Philippines submitted offers to contract output from 10GW of PV plants currently under development, potentially representing 9TWh per year of contracted power that would start operations mostly in 2025 and 2026. However, in a release today, the company said it aimed to have 8GW of solar and battery projects completed in this period.

Meralco seeks lower prices for 200MW baseload solar power

In related news, the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) has made moves to secure lower prices for 200MW of baseload supply starting in 2024 from a 1,800MW solar project with 1,800MWh of battery storage, which is under development.

Solar Philippines Batangas Baseload Corporation (SPBBC), a unit of Solar Philippines, had previously made an unsolicited offer for this 200MW with a rate of PHP4.65/kWh (US$0.083/kWh) at 100% plant capacity factor, with a similar levelised cost of electricity (LCOE) for a period of 20 years.

Meralco is now inviting challengers to submit lower offers. Interested parties have until 31 August to submit their expressions of interest.

The firm is also inviting challenges for Ahunan Power’s proposals for supply from 500MW of renewable energy generation. Ahunan is a joint venture between tycoon Enrique Razon’s Prime Metro Power and JBD Water Power.

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