Philippines may place limits on future PV build-out

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Mario Marasigan, assistant director of the DoE, said this week that the government wants to prevent developers from installing too much solar capacity in areas that are now subject to transmission and grid limitations, such as the province of Negros Occidental?, according to The Manila Standard.

The DoE is now considering whether to limit future solar installations to certain percentages of the energy mix in various parts of the country, based on local grid constraints.

Marasigan said that the government plans to work with utilities such as National Grid Corp. of the Philippines to determine which parts of the Southeast Asian nation can accommodate more PV capacity, based on local daytime power demand.

Most of the country’s bigger solar projects have thus far been installed on the main island of Luzon.

However, research firm IHS says that slightly more than one-third of the country’s total installed PV capacity — which it currently estimates at roughly 915MW — has been installed in Negros Occidental alone.

Already, the subsea transmission lines that connect the islands of Negros and Cebu are operating dangerously close to full capacity, according to the DoE.

“There have been reports about curtailment,” says IHS analyst Josefin Berg, pointing to a number of massive projects on the island, including the recently commissioned 132.5MW Cadiz array, which was developed by Helios Solar Energy.

Marasigan’s further complicate the outlook for the country’s next round of feed-in tariffs.

The recent second round of projects — awarded to developers under the government’s FIT rate of 8.69 pesos ($0.19)/kWh — was oversubscribed by several hundred megawatts.

Manila has thus far been silent on the anticipated third FIT round, as the government determines how to deal with that excess capacity.

Under the Philippines’ renewable-energy law, developers are expected to install their projects before they can obtain a FIT, which has left some completed projects without subsidies.