Conergy completes 201 MW of solar PV in the Philippines

Today Conergy announced that it has connected 201 MW of solar PV projects to the grid in two provinces in the Philippines. This includes four projects on the island of Luzon, ranging from 13-50 MW, and four projects on Negros at 14-48 MW in capacity.

The projects are all ground-mounted, fixed-tilt arrays. Conergy used its own branded modules, sourced from an original equipment manufacturer (OEM), which the company has identified as a “Tier 1 Chinese supplier”. Four local companies provided construction services including civil works and installation under Conergy’s direction.

Conergy states that all of these projects were connected to the grid in advance of the March 15, 2016 deadline for feed-in tariff rates. In theory this should allow the company to qualify at the generous feed-in tariff rate of PHP 8.69/kWh (US$190/MWh), however competition has been fierce to meet a 500 MW cap and the Philippines awards contracts on a first-come, first-served basis.

As many of Conergy’s projects were completed in December, January and February, Conergy Asia-Pacific Communications Director Michelle Gozum says that she is confident that most of these projects will receive the feed-in tariff.

Gozum also notes that there is a precedent for the Philippine government to expand the capacity available under the program to include plants completed by deadlines, given that this was done for the first 50 MW phase of the feed-in tariff.

Conergy completed some of the nation’s first utility-scale PV projects as early as spring 2014, and says that with this 201 MW it has reached 274 MW installed in the Philippines to date.

In the last few months the Philippines’ PV market has boomed. Earlier this month a government official quoted in local press estimated that the the nation had reached 377 MW of installed PV, and as of last November the Philippines Department of Energy had approved 2.5 GW of solar projects.

?This is a particularly large volume given that in 2014 the nation’s total generation capacity was only 18 GW, and that in that year biomass, solar and wind met less than 5% of demand.

A need for power to supply the Philippine’s growing population and economy is likely a driver of the nation’s solar ambitions and policies. Only 70% of the nation’s 100 million residents have access to electricity, and in recent years rolling blackouts have been a standard feature for those connected to the grid.