(The Philippine Star) | Updated February 21, 2017 - 12:00am
MANILA, Philippines - Solar Philippines will showcase the country’s first solar farm equipped with batteries when it completes the first 50 megawatts (MW) of its largest solar project in Tarlac by mid-2017, its top official said yesterday.
The company expects batteries to become a game changer in the solar market this year.
“Tarlac Phase 1 of 50 MW will be completed by mid-2017 and the total 150 MW are targeted by end of the year,” Solar Philippines president Leandro Leviste said in a text message yesterday.
He said solar-plus-storage projects are already cheaper than expensive diesel and natural gas.
“Batteries will be the game-changer of 2017. We aim to complete our first such project by mid-year to show that the age of 24/7 solar is already here, and hopefully urge others to pause before investing in expensive fossil fuels,” Leviste said.
Solar Philippines announced yesterday it would integrate batteries into nearly all its upcoming solar farms, to supply reliable 24/7 power starting this year.
It is in discussions with battery suppliers including US-based automotive and energy storage firm Tesla, which is doubling the world’s battery manufacturing capacity to accelerate cost decreases, and will soon complete the world’s largest solar-plus-storage project to supply evening power in Hawaii.
Leviste is teaming up with Tesla for a pilot solar farm with battery storage.
Red tape remains a barrier to solar-plus-storage, the company said.
The Confederation of Solar Developers of the Philippines (CSDP) noted that around 600 signatures are required for permits to develop a solar project resulting in a multi-year process.
According to CSDP, this has discouraged investments in renewable energy.
Another barrier is the price of solar panels, which remains the largest cost item.
Solar Philippines, however, said it would soon open the first locally-owned solar panel factory, in line with its goal to construct and develop solar farms in-house, to lower costs and bring greater competition into renewable energy.
“These are exciting times in the power industry. Vertical integration is enabling us to make solar-plus-storage cost-competitive years ahead of schedule, accelerate the advent of sustainable energy, and make the Philippines a leader in solar energy worldwide,” Leviste said.