Conergy to build its second Philippines PV power plant

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Conergy’s second utility scale PV project in the Philippines will be located 50 kilometers (31 miles) from the capital Manila on the country’s biggest island Luzon. Conergy says it will be completed in Q4 2014 and will consist of 30,000 modules.

The Philippine’s RASLAG Corporation will own the power plant. RASLAG itself is the renewables arm of Angeles Power.

This latest project builds on Conergy’s success in the region. It has constructed a number of PV power plants in Thailand – which is the leading PV market in Southeast Asia with projects in the hundreds of MW.

PV is a good fit for the archipelago nations of Southeast Asia, where high irradiation levels means that PV is often the lowest cost distributed electricity solution. The growing economies of Southeast Asia also have growing demand for electricity – where it is frequently supplied by diesel generation sources.

Investment outlook

In a recent interview with pv magazine, Michael Sieg, the Chairman and CEO of renewable finance fund ThomasLloyd Group, said that while PV developments in the Philippines are currently taking place under a FIT, that solar can compete in terms of price.

“The financial returns on our projects also need to be protected should no FIT be available or if the current 50 MW allocation of solar power[under the FIT] in the Philippines is exceeded,” Sieg told pv magazine. “The demand and price level for electricity is rising so that, even without the FIT, the electricity from our projects might over the long term be sold on bilateral supply contracts to municipalities or Special Economic Zones at prices that could be competitive with the current FIT allowance.

The FIT currently stands at around US$0.23 (€0.16) and, as Sieg pointed out, is capped at 50 MW of PV installed capacity.

ThomasLloyd Group, under its ThomasLloyd Cleanteach Infrastructure Fund, has the San Carlos Solar Energy 1 and 2, worth 22 MW. Sieg said that investors in the fund can expect returns double digit returns over its entire portfolio.

“The Philippines is very open to the increased use of solar power and other renewable energy [sources]. The combination of biomass and PV is particularly interesting on an archipelago like the Philippines, because it combines base and peak load,” said Sieg.

The road to PV development has been a long one in the Philippines with the FIT scheme having had a number of false starts.

The Philippine government is targeting 16.2 GW of renewable capacity over the next 15 years. President for Conergy Asia and Middle East Alexander Lenz said the potential for PV in the Philippines is great.

“There are huge opportunities for solar to expand access to electricity and reduce energy imports in the Philippines,” said Lenz. “It’s early day and there are logistical challenges, but Conergy has excellent relationships with partners across the archipelago, which us to select and successfully develop the right projects.”