Solar Philippines targets international expansion

07 August 2018 Week 31 Issue 469

Manila-based independent power producer (IPP) Solar Philippines (SP) aims to expand outside its domestic market by picking up tenders in India.

The group intends to take part in India’s upcoming renewable power auctions and aims to develop 500 MW of installed solar capacity in the sub-continent.

SP, which managed by Philllipnes businessman Leandro Leviste, built its position by selling rooftop solar panel units to home and business premises.

The privately-owned company now operates solar farms across the Philippines, such as the 63.3-MW Calatagan solar farm in Luzon region, which holds 200,000 panels and provides power for the Western Batangas area.

SP manages over 300 MW of planned or installed capacity, and the company also claims to be a signatory to the lowest-cost power purchasing agreement (PPA) in Southeast Asia for solar output.

SP also operates an 800-MW per year solar panel factory, one of the largest and most advanced in Asia, and is leading the drive towards solar battery-based micro grids.

As well as building up footholds in power technology and supply, SP is also leading a major shake-up of the market structure in the Philippines.

The group wants to use solar to, in its words, “reduce energy poverty,” and to increase access to energy levels in rural areas.

The company presented a radical initiative in 2017 to Philippines energy groups outlining a shift from coal to solar, which would create 5,000 MW of new supply.

By shutting all coal plants by 2022, SP believes that lower costs and greater efficiency could be achieved through hybrid projects that encompass storage battery technology.

Leviste’s imitative stated that SP’s solar power supply would cost 30% less than coal-fired supply.

NewsBase Intelligence (NBI) views that given the dramatic rise of global coal prices in late 2017 and 2018, as well as a simultaneous reduction in green technology and equipment costs, the competitiveness of solar power is gaining more ground.

SP won the prestigious “Power Company of the Year” title at the Asian Power Awards in 2017.

Until now, SP has been focussed exclusively on the Philippines' market, but the prospect of developing overseas using the model it has created at home is clearly the company's next intended avenue of growth.

SP did not respond to an enquiry from NBI regarding its next steps, but the plan would fit with the company's ambitious growth proposals, and corresponds to rapidly-growing interest in India as a target for inward renewable investment.

India has developed a large-scale renewable auction structure as the most efficient way, in its view, of attracting foreign investment in the installation of badly-needed green capacity.

SP may look at other foreign markets in order to drive growth if the domestic market proves unable to fulfil the group's green targets within its ambitious timelines.

It was recently reported in local media that SP had submitted an offer earlier in 2018 to supply power from its solar farms to state-controlled Meralco and was waiting for a response.

Edited by

Richard Lockhart

Editor

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