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Prime Infra plans massive 3.5GW solar farm for Philippines

https://www.pv-magazine-australia.com/2022/06/10/prime-infra-plans-massive-3-5gw-solar-farm-for-philippines/

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Investment firm Prime Infrastructure Holdings (Prime Infra), led by Filipino billionaire Enrique Razon, has announced it will build a 2.5-3.5GW solar farm tied to 4-4.5GWh of battery energy storage to help power the Philippines as the island nation steps ups it transition to renewable energy.

The project will be undertaken by Terra Solar, a joint venture between Razon’s Prime Infra and PV module manufacturer and project developer Solar Philippines.

The Manila-based Solar Philippines is the nation’s largest solar company with an estimated 400MW of operation projects and multi-megawatt pipeline projects under construction, including a 500MW solar farm being built in the province of Nueva Ecija, about 100 kilometres north of Manila. It also partnered with Prime Infra to develop a 150MW solar farm in Tarlac, about 70km west of Nueva Ecija.

No details about the cost or location of the new solar farm were provided, with Solar Philippines saying only that it would look to identify potential sites for the project on the island of Luzon.

Prime Infra chief executive officer Guillaume Lucci described the project as “a model of dependable renewable energy”, saying it would be transformational for the nation’s renewable energy landscape.

“We are delighted to move forward on this record-breaking project that highlights solar power’s important contribution to strengthening the country’s energy security,” he said.

The 150MW Tarlac Solar Plant is currently the Philippines’ largest PV facility.

Image: Solar Philippines

Lucci said Prime Infra was looking to take advantage of a steep decline in solar installation costs over the past decade and improved battery energy storage system technology.

“It allows the company to build an economically critical and socially relevant infrastructure at a scale the world has never seen before,” he said.

Lucci said the project is backed by a long-term power purchase agreement with Manila Electric Company (Meralco). The Philippines’ biggest power retailer has inked a 20-year offtake agreement for 850MW of renewable energy per annum. The agreement stipulates 600MW will be available by 2026, with the additional 250MW to be delivered in 2027.

Figures released by Terra Solar said the 850MW supply will displace an annual consumption of approximately 1.4 million tons of coal or 930,000 litres of oil, reducing both carbon emissions and import dependency for the country from 2026 to 2046.

The Philippines gets about 57% of its electricity from coal but the nation has made a big push for renewable energy projects in recent years as it seeks to lessen its dependence on fossil fuels, in line with its goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The government aims to increase the share of renewables in the power mix to 35% by 2030, from 21% in 2020, and to 50% by 2040. Renewables currently account for 29.1% of installed capacity.

Meralco, which distributes electricity in metropolitan Manila and nearby provinces, is aiming to have 1.5MW of renewable energy capacity by 2027.

Meralco is “embarking on a just, orderly and affordable transition to clean and earth-friendly energy,” chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in a statement.

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