Solar Philippines to install mini-grids in 12 towns

Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc. said it would bring round-the-clock power supply to 12 towns by installing mini-grids under its Solar Para sa Bayan initiative.

In a statement, the company said it was working to put up hybrid mini-grids in the towns of Dumaran, Palawan; Claveria, Masbate; Calayan, Cagayan; Lubang, Occidental Mindoro; and Dingalan, Aurora, among others, over the next few months.

Solar Philippines said that through this initiative, it aimed to supply power at a lower cost to consumers and at zero cost to the government to towns that would have 24/7 access to electricity for the first time, noting that about 200,000 Filipinos will benefit from these projects.

“Our aim is not to make the most profit, but to help the greatest number of our fellow Filipinos. We hope all other stakeholders will likewise support such initiatives for the DOE [Department of Energy] to achieve its vision of ending energy poverty by 2022,” Solar Para sa Bayan founder Leandro Leviste said.

Leviste, who is also president of Solar Philippines, said the company was “working overtime to ensure every town in the Philippines will enjoy the best service at the lowest cost as soon as possible,” as the company has received emails from various townsfolk requesting them to bring reliable electricity to their respective towns.

Solar Para sa Bayan was initiated earlier this year to support the Department of Energy’s vision to end energy poverty in the Philippines by 2022. In support of this vision, the government plans to issue an executive order encouraging the participation of the private sector in its rural electrification program.

In June, Leviste revealed on the sidelines of the 13th Asia Clean Energy Forum (ACEF) that Solar Philippines was aiming for a capacity of 400 megawatts (MW) by the end of the year.

“[W]e are completing 10 towns by next quarter, of similar size to the one town we completed in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro earlier this year. The first two will be completed this month in Masbate, totaling 100,000 people that will have 24-hour electricity for the first time in their lives,” Leviste said at that time, adding the facility will be equipped with solar batteries.

“Under this plan, over the next few months, we will complete micro-grids in over a dozen towns… benefiting 500,000 people, without a single dollar of grants, and perhaps an order of magnitude larger than the next largest micro-grid portfolio in history, which we hope will cause ADB [Asian Development Bank] to rethink its entire off-grid strategy,” he said.

In March, Solar Philippines inaugurated its solar-battery micro-grid in the municipality of Paluan, Occidental Mindoro, making the town completely brownout-free.

The solar-battery farm, which has 2 MW of solar panels, capacity of 2 megawatt hours (MWh), and 2 MW of diesel backup, is designed to supply round-the-clock power to the area at 50 percent lower cost than that charged by the local electric cooperative.