Solar Philippines to build 1 GW by 2018

Beyond its home market, the Manila-based company is developing PV projects in India, the U.S. and undisclosed countries throughout sub-Saharan Africa. It is also installing solar in a number of Southeast Asian markets, including Indonesia, Vietnam and Myanmar.

It expects to finish its first overseas PV projects by the end of this year, but it did not reveal additional information about its pipeline.  Thus far, its highest-profile project is a 63.3 MW array in the Philippines. It completed the $120 million installation in Calatagan, Batangas province, in early 2016.

Solar Philippines said in an online statement this week that it expects its annual exports of PV modules to surpass 10 billion pesos ($197.08 million) n value by next year. In March, it started production at the first domestically owned solar panel factory in the Philippines. It acquired the plant after SunPower exited the country last year and claims that the facility will directly employ 1000 people this year.

Solar Philippines plans to ramp up annual output to 800 MW at the facility in Tanauan, Batangas province, by the end of this year. It wants to eventually reach 2 GW of annual production capacity and aims to become the “largest non-Chinese solar panel manufacturer” in the world.

“Exporting solar panels is not a viable business in itself, as global demand and regulations can change overnight,” said Leandro Leviste, president of Solar Philippines. “However, we took the risk on this factory, because even if the global market fizzles, we have our own projects that we can supply. This has allowed us to fully book our capacity for 2017, and build economies of scale to make our costs globally competitive.”

Solar Philippines has already established itself as a rooftop PV developer in its home market. Its bigger rooftop projects include a 1.2 MW array it built in Palawan for Robinsons Land, a property developer that has set its own ambitious PV installation goals.

Earlier this year, Solar Philippines formally urged the country’s utilities to adopt solar. It presented a proposal to replace all new coal-fired plants that are scheduled for construction with 5 GW of solar capacity, backed by storage batteries. It said it plans to finished building its first PV+storage project in the Philippines by the end of this year. However, it did not disclose additional details about the installation.