Conergy completes 274 peak MW solar projects, making PH its 2nd biggest market

German photovoltaic solution and service provider Conergy, with its partners in the Philippines, has so far completed a total of 274 MWPeak solar projects from 2013 to 2016, making the country its biggest market in Asia and its second biggest in the world.This solar capacity is enough to provide power to over 171,300 households.Some 201 MWp worth of solar projects were completed in a span of nine months, from July last year to March this year, setting a record in Southeast Asia, according to Conergy Asia-Pacific president Alexander Lenz.This batch of solar projects includes four in Luzon (50 MWp in Tarlac, 13 MWp in Pampanga, 15 MWp in Bulacan, and 18 MWp in Bataan) and another four in Negros (14 MWp in La Carlota, 48 MWp in Manapla, 18 MWp in Bais, and 25 MWp in Silay).The solar farm in Tarlac also holds the record for being the biggest plant that Conergy has set up worldwide.While solar farms worldwide (except for the United States) usually have a capacity of 20 MWp to 40 MWp, the Tarlac project has a capacity of 50 MWp, Lenz pointed out at a press briefing Wednesday at the Peninsula Manila Hotel in Makati City."We are very, very positive for the further development of the solar sector in the Philippines," Lenz said. "We are very positive that the Philippines will stay a very important market for us. This is the beginning of solar development in the Philippines, only the beginning."He added that the company, with its local partners, has lined up five new projects this year and the next, with a total capacity of 180 MWp, set to commence in the third quarter of 2016.Construction takes about half a year per project, and each will likely be completed in the first quarter of 2017. The projects will be located in Luzon and Mindanao, Lenz disclosed.Conergy is also looking into project development opportunities, under the present ownership restrictions, that could have a capacity of up to 500 MWp for 2016 and 2017 alone.In the meantime, Lenz is looking forward to the results of the May polls."We are as curious as everybody else as to what will happen. First of all, who is going to be elected and what influences this will have on energy policy," he said."The funny thing I think about the Philippine market is, there's so much expensive generation. Solar would be competitive if regulation would be a bit less," he added.Deregulation would enable families to put a "solar systems" on their roofs and consume all the electricity by themselves. They could decide where to get their power from, whether from gas, coal, or a clean source on their rooftop, Lenz explained."So in the end, we are relying on feed-in tariffs not because solar would not be competitive, but because solar can't be deployed easily because of regulation constraints. So there's a huge potential for solar in the Philippines, irrespective of feed-in tariff (FIT)," he said.Under the government's FIT scheme, investors in renewable energy are paid a certain amount for a period of time as an incentive."The Philippines started at nine point something pesos per kilowatt hour, and it went down by 10 percent less," Lenz explained."In principle, since you have very high electricity prices in the Philippines, solar is competitive in many aspects already. But in order to fully reap the benefits of solar, deregulation (of the electricity market) is the key word," he stressed.Solar power was "a very good answer" to the country's energy needs, Lenz said. He added that it was becoming less and less expensive to implement solar project because of competition.Manufacturers in China also had a hand in this, having increased their capacity to produce solar modules, driving prices down, he said.As solar farms only supply power as long as the sun shines, Conergy is conducting research and development into storage solutions.Each solar farm has a life span of 25 years, although this can be greater, according to Lenz.Conergy's local partners work with farmer-cooperatives so the land can be leased, according to marketing director Michelle Gozum.Some are covered by agrarian reform, but have already deteriorated in quality in terms of suitability for farming, she said.(c) 2016 PANAPRESS. All rights reserved. Provided by SyndiGate Media Inc. (Syndigate.info)., source Middle East & North African Newspapers

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