German firm eyes more projects in PHL


GERMAN COMPANY Conergy is pursuing projects in the Philippines with a total capacity of 180 megawatts (MW) starting in the third quarter this year after completing eight solar farms in Luzon and the Visayas as of the first quarter of 2016.

“It’s a number of big projects. It’s mainly in Luzon and some in Mindanao,” said Alexander Lenz, president of Conergy’s Asia-Pacific unit, in a press briefing on Wednesday.

This comes as Conergy finished installing a total of 274 MW of solar capacity in the country, which it claims to amount to more than half of the 500-MW quota for solar photovoltaic plants that could qualify under the Department of Energy’s (DoE) feed-in tariff (FIT) scheme.

Mr. Lenz declined to disclose the exact number of new projects that the company was negotiating to build, only saying these were below five. He added he was looking at three or four investors.

“We are very positive for the further development of the solar sector in the Philippines and we would like to benefit from our position if new business comes up,” he said, adding that the country will remain an important market for Conergy.

Based on the company’s project completion record, the proposed solar farms should be completed by the first quarter of 2017. Some of the companies behind these projects are those that Conergy has partnered before, Mr. Lenz said.

Of the 274-MW capacity installed by Conergy thus far, 201 MW were sealed by the company only in 2015. Their completion as of March 15 should count them among those vying for the fixed tariff of P8.69 for each kilowatt hour they export to the distribution or transmission grid.

These projects are located in different areas in the Philippines in areas spanning between 213,292 and 634,514 square meters. Four of them are in Luzon — 50 MW in Tarlac, 13 MW in Pampanga, 15 MW in Bulacan and 18 MW in Bataan.

The rest of the solar farms are in Negros — 14 MW in La Carlota, 48 MW in Manapla, 18 MW in Bais and 25 MW in Silay.

Conergy said that together with its local partners, it was able to add clean electricity capacity to the grid and further strengthened its position as the leader of solar engineering, procurement and construction services in the Philippines.

“We’d like to keep our position, which will be difficult enough if you look at the market share that we have. But we are very positive that this is not the end of solar development in the Philippines but only the beginning,” Mr. Lenz said.

He said Conergy expects “continued strong upside” for solar in the Philippines and that it was awaiting an announcement from the DoE for a third phase of solar FIT in the second half of the year.

Mr. Lenz said that even if the next phase of tariff would be lower than P8.69/kWh, solar projects would remain a viable venture for investors in the energy sector. The first batch of solar projects, with a total capacity of 108.90 MW, were offered a fixed tariff of P9.68/kWh.

In terms of capacity, the biggest solar farm installed by Conergy is the 50-MW Tarlac Solar Power Project (TSPP) in Bulacan that was inaugurated on March 3. The project is with PetroSolar Corp., which is owned by PetroGreen Energy Corp. and EEI Power Corp.

“We are proud to have been able to deliver this project in four and a half months, a record not only for our company but for solar farm execution in Southeast Asia, in general,” Mr. Lenz said.

The farm covers 55 hectares of industrial land within the Central Technopark in Tarlac City. It is expected to serve 31,700 households with clean electricity, which will replace at least 47,800 tons of carbon dioxide emissions every year, Conergy said.

In the Visayas, the biggest solar project installed by the company is the 48-MW project with Negros Island Solar Power, Inc. — a joint venture between the Philippine Investment Alliance for Infrastructure, a fund managed by Macquarie Infrastructure Management (Asia) Pty. Ltd., and Bronzeoak Philippines.

Mr. Lenz said Conergy was also looking at a few partners in solar rooftop projects with an estimated total capacity of 10 MW.


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