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Bulacan 22.5-hectare Solar Power Plant can power as much as 10,000 homes

Bulakenyos will have the means to take advantage of the solar energy as the United Nations announced its $400 million Solar Power Plant constructed in the province of Bulacan.

SAN ILDEFONSO, Bulacan - Photovoltaic cells covering some 22.5 hectares are installed here, capable of generating as much as 15 megawatts (MW) of electricity, enough to supply 10,000 homes.

Bulacan Solar Energy Corporation has an array of 8,760 solar panels, whose energy conversion translates to displacing "12,000 tons of carbon monoxide emissions" every year, according to Engineer Salvador Antonio Castro, president.

The company, Castro disclosed, aims to develop 500 megawatts of generating capacity from clean and renewable solar energy over the next five years.

Bulacan Solar Energy Corporation's photovoltaic farm in San Ildefonso, Bulacan. Photographed by Chad de Guzman, InterAksyon.

The project was financed with 40 percent equity contribution from Armstrong Asset Management of Singapore, regarded as the biggest clean energy fund in Southeast Asia.

"They're very much interested in our whole portfolio, so we fully expect to continue working with them," Castro said, even as he declined to name local investors in this undertaking.

BULACAN’S OWN. Second District Congressman Gavini “Apol” C. Pancho receives a certificate of appreciation from the Provincial Government of Bulacan headed by Gov. Wilhelmino M. Sy-Alvarado for being the guest speaker in the 117th Anniversary of the Inauguration of Malolos Congress held at the historic Barasoain Church September 15,2015. Also in the photo are (L-R) Board Member Felix Ople, Vice Gov. Daniel Fernando and Hon. Gion Gounet, UN ambassador on Goodwill.(bulacan gov.ph)

The company wants to expand its solar farms in phases: a 40MW plant adjacent to the current one, and a 45MW solar farm a kilometer away, to complete their first 100MW solar energy project.

The solar farms will traverse Barangays Casalat, Pasong Bangkal, and Sapang Dayap.

Power plants of this nature take about three years for design development and three more years for construction. The trick is to cluster small plants (5 to 10 MW) and large plants (20MW and more) to rationalize infrastructure investment in electricity transmission.

The company has also made solar rooftop technology available to commercial and institutional organizations, and is looking into the expansion of hydroelectric power plants in the order of 100 megawatt, such as the run-off river project in Jasaan, Misamis Oriental currently in development.

"Hydro [power plants] are very site-specific. You cannot develop a project out of flatland. Obviously you need a lot of rainfall, you need a lot of rainforest cover for the watershed, and that typically happens in the mountains."

Each hydro project is estimated to cost around US$300 to 400 million.

Tariff policies
The company is waiting the new round of Feed-In Tariff (FIT) policies under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 (Republic Act 9513), which regulates the production and distribution of renewable energy.

Castro adds that expansion depends on the issuance of FIT, the imposed tariff rates, and energy production quota: "You've probably heard of the different dates, some as early as July, some as late as December, and, until such time that we really understand what the next round of FIT is, then we're just planning so that we'll be ready for that time."

"If we can increase the feed-in tariff allocation for solar energy, then that is exactly what the Philippines needs. I understand that there are a lot of people advocating that, and that's very important," Castro added.

Click and watch the video posted by Chad de Guzman of TV5 Interaksyon, below:

Source: interaksyon.com,bulacan.gov.ph,

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