The Board of Investments (BOI) recently approved the application of PILIPINAS NEWTON ENERGY CORP. as a renewable energy developer of solar energy sources for its San Manuel 1 Solar Power Project. It qualified for incentives under the Special Laws List (Republic Act 9513 aka the Renewable Energy Act) of the Investment Priorities Plan (IPP).

The Php4.15 billion solar project will be constructed in San Manuel, Pangasinan, with a total land area of approximately seventy (70) hectares. It will use fixed photovoltaics (PV) modules for the generation of electricity with a peak capacity of up to 68.7 megawatts (MW). The company will tap 27 personnel when commercial operation starts on June 2018. All power generated will be sold to Distribution Utilities (DUs) and/or National Grid Corp. of the Phils. (NGCP) through Power Supply Agreement (PSA) and/or Wholesale Electricity Spot Market (WESM).

The site in Barangays San Bonifacio and San Roque in San Manuel was selected since the land was classified as agricultural land with no irrigation and majority of the land is considered as grassland by the municipality of San Manuel under the municipality’s comprehensive land use plan. The site showed favourable conditions due to accessibility, proximity to the transmission tapping point, absence of tenants, availability of additional area for expansion, and good topography with minimal land movement need.

“The demand for power will continue to increase due to the ongoing industrialization in the country as it fuels the infrastructure expansion and the growth of the manufacturing industry. At the same time, we are already transitioning towards using more renewable energy in response to climate change as part of our National Renewable Energy Program (NREP),” Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo said.

Renewable energy plants (geothermal, hydro, wind, biomass and solar) accounted for the biggest share of the country’s total installed power capacity with 34.3% as of 2016, according to the Department of Energy (DOE). Additional data showed the country has awarded 166 solar projects with a potential capacity of 4,081 MW of which 903 MW were installed in 2016. All told, DOE has approved 755 renewable projects with a potential capacity of 16,949MW, of which projects totaling 4,522 MW were installed last year.

The NREP aims to accelerate the exploration and development of renewable energy resources to achieve energy self-reliance. It seeks to increase the RE-based capacity of the country to an estimated 15,304 MW by the year 2030, almost triple its 2010 level. During the recent launching of the Renewables Readiness Assessment (RRA) for the Philippines, the DOE said they plan to add 20,000 MW of RE capacities by 2040 as the country will continue to step up its efforts in promoting the deployment of indigenous renewable energy.