DOE official: Negros Island on its way to becoming solar power capital of the Philippines

BACOLOD CITY, Sept. 24 (PNA) — Negros Island is working its way to become the solar power capital of the Philippines with at least 12 service contracts approved in Negros Occidental, said an official of the Department of Energy (DOE).

Fortunato Sibayan, chief of DOE Solar and Wind Energy Management Division, who was in the province Wednesday for the groundbreaking rites of Citicore Power Inc.’s P2-billion, 25-megawatt solar plant project in Silay City,said that “the total megawatt capacities of all the service contracts issued nationwide is 2,000 and you have 1,000 here.”

He said that 1,000 megawatts is more than enough to meet the energy needs of Negros.

“But with the new technology coming in right now, like storage electricity, there will come a time between three and five years that the variability will not be a problem anymore,” Sibayan said.

He said that so far, a total of 12 solar projects were approved by DOE in Negros Island.

Within two years, other solar power plants in Negros Occidental are expected to be fully operational, but all permits must be secured, including the resolution and the approval coming from local government units, Sibayan said.

He added that majority of these solar projects are already in the pre-development stage, including eight expected to generate 430 MW.

Two are in the development and construction stage – the 132.5 MW in Cadiz City and the 18 MW in Victorias City.

Sibayan said that currently, the only operational solar plant in the province is in San Carlos City, which generates 45 MW while the construction of its second phase for 200 MW is still ongoing.

Of the total 132 MW of solar power being generated nationwide, 45 MW is from Negros Occidental.

The DOE official said that there are still 10 pending applications for solar power projects in the province, totaling 552 MW.

Once all the projects will push through, Negros Island will generate 1,178 MW of solar power, comprising 38 percent of the 3,062 MW solar power set to be generated nationwide.

This will make Negros Island the solar power capital of the country, he added.(PNA)