The potential for photovoltaics in the archipelago nation of the Philippines has long been hyped; with grid geography meaning that grid connectivity is not possible in many locations. As such, many communities rely on expensive diesel generation for electricity. Brownouts are also common in some parts of the country, Gunter Matschuck vice president of the Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA) tells pv magazine.
Despite the favorable conditions for photovoltaics in many places throughout the Philippines, the establishment of a FIT program has been slow. The announcement that a tariff for photovoltaics and other renewables will be introduced has therefore been welcomed, with a potentially profitable FIT of over $0.20/kWh.
The FIT for photovoltaics, as set out by the ERC, is substantially below what was recommended by the countrys National Renewable Energy Board (NREB). In the ERCs statement, it has set out that this is based on the, "downward market trend of the costs of putting up these plants." The ERC did use the NREB methodology for calculating the FITs. In its statement the ERC did not reveal the period for which the FIT will be paid, nor the commencement date of the program.
The Manila Standard Today has reported that renewable energy developers have welcomed the decision. "Basically we are very thankful to the ERC for finally releasing the FIT. This is basically a rate significant lower than what the industry applied for," PSPA founder Tetchie Capellan was reported by the Manila Standard Today as saying.
The PSPAs Matschuck tells pv magazine that while the FIT is "much lower than expected," that it is not "a reason to give up." He also explained that the solar industry in the country has perhaps missed an early opportunity by focusing on utility-scale applications and neglecting somewhat the potential of the rooftop market in the country.