MANILA – ACEN Corp., led by Ayala, is set to develop its first large-scale floating solar project on Laguna Lake, adding 1,100 megawatts (MW) of power capacity to its renewable energy portfolio.
The Ayala group listed energy platform signed a renewable energy (RE) contract area utilization agreement with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) on Tuesday to lease 800 hectares (ha) of RE area on the lake largest freshwater reservoir in the country.
The LLDA had auctioned 2,000 ha in the southern and eastern parts of Laguna de Bay for the development of floating solar projects covering the cities of Calamba, Santa Rosa and Cabuyao, as well as the towns of Bay and Victoria. The total area translates to about 2,500 MW of floating solar power capacity.
Among the winning bidders were ACEN, local solar power developer SunAsia Energy Inc. and Singapore-based Vena Energy, according to the LLDA.
ACEN President and CEO John Eric France explained that the project is still in the pre-development stage, as winning bidders still need to obtain the necessary permits, such as environmental compliance certificates, before proceeding with the construction.
“We still have a lot of work ahead of us. We have to talk to the suppliers because this is the first time we will do (floating) solar,” Francia told reporters, adding that it was “too early” to determine the capex required for the project.
He said it would take two to three years for the project to open for commercial operation.
ACEN, through its subsidiaries AC Subic Solar, AC Laguna Solar, SolarACE4 Energy, Ingrid Power and GigaWind 1, received Notices of Award from the LLDA in July.
It had also applied for solar power operation contracts with the Department of Energy (DOE) for the 800 ha area.
“As we explore the potential of our first large-scale floating solar project, which will be a crucial part of ACEN’s master plan to achieve our 2030 goal, we are excited to spearhead this energy innovation in the Philippines,” said France.
ACEN aims to increase its renewable energy portfolio to 20 gigawatts (GW) by 2030 in line with its net zero carbon emissions goal.
So far it has 4.4 GW of attributable capacity from owned facilities in the Philippines, Australia, Vietnam, Indonesia and India, with a 98 percent renewable share.
Meanwhile, SunAsia will develop 1,300 MW of capacity in a 1,000 ha area at Laguna Lake, investing a total of $1.2 billion in the project.
The company conducted a pilot test in 2018 on 1,000 ha to ensure that the solar panels could be properly adapted to the lake environment.
Vena Energy will get 200 ha, for a total of around 270 MW of capacity.
DOE has so far awarded at least 237 solar energy contracts with an aggregate installed capacity of 1,282 MW and a potential capacity of 21,452 MW.
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