By Lenie Lectura – February 7, 2018
from Business Mirror

SOLAR Philippines Power Project Holdings Inc. said it is prepared to expand its portfolio to accommodate the power requirements of the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco). The company announced this after submitting an offer to provide 24/7 power to the country’s largest electricity distribution firm.

“Our company alone has 5,000 hectares that is being developed into solar farms with available interconnection that can be delivered when Meralco needs it,” Solar Philippines President Leandro Leviste said.

He explained that 1 hectare of land can accommodate 1 megawatt (MW) of solar power generation capacity. At present, Solar Philippines’s power portfolio has reached 300 MW. These are either in operation or under construction.

“We have three projects for Meralco and other contestable customers. These are in Tarlac, Tanauan and Maragondon,” Leviste said adding the company is eyeing to expand its portfolio by 250 MW more.

“We have an additional 250 MW beyond the 300 MW that will start construction during the year,” he added. “All of these projects are starting construction even without ERC [Energy Regulatory Commission] approval.”

Leviste said they plan to “build all these plants without contracts because they are economically viable based on WESM [Wholesale Electricity Spot Market] prices.”

“Our contract prices are even lower than WESM prices.”

Solar Philippines earlier challenged the price offer of First NatGas Power Corp. to supply power to Meralco at P2.99 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

Leviste claims Meralco consumers will save over 30 percent or an estimated P75 billion per annum if its offer is chosen. This is compared to Meralco’s average generation rate in the past three months of P4.74 per kWh.

He added that consumers may save even more compared to gas plants.

Leviste cited as example the 500-MW supply line in the past three months by First Gas Philippines Corp. to Meralco at an average rate of P5.44 per kWh inclusive of value-added tax.

Solar Philippines’s offer came after Meralco declared a failure of bidding in a competitive selection process (CSP), in which no company qualified to challenge the proposal of First NatGas in light of the CSP’s requirement that “the fuel for the generation of the Price Challenger must be the same as the Original Power Supplier, which is natural gas.”

Since it was a failed bid, Solar Philippines said Meralco may now choose whether to rebid this under the same terms, or amend the terms to allow other technologies to compete on the basis of cost.

A decision could be reached by end of this month.

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