President Aquino inaugurates largest solar power plant

Beside having large sugarcane farms, this province is also now home to the country’s first large-scale commercially financed and commissioned solar power plant which was inaugurated by President Benigno S. Aquino III during his latest visit here since 2012.

The President led the switch-on, May 15, of the solar power facility which marked the start of its commercial operation sending off to the local grid at peak 13 megawatt for Phase 1 and 9-megawatt for the Phase 2.

In his keynote speech after the switch on, President Aquino cited the San Carlos Solar Energy Incorporated (SACASOL) as a perfect example of taking responsibility to act in the face of growing climate risk whether in government or the private sector.

“This is a project funded by companies with a strong interest in renewable and clean energy investments and a project supported by the local government. With your help, we are proving to the world: even developing countries such as ours can do their share in reducing the risks posed by global warming. And we are doing this even at a time when the development of solar power plants remains more expensive than that of plants fueled by traditional sources of energy,” Aquino said.

Meanwhile, SACASOL Chairman Jose Maria Zabaleta Sr. credited the strong support of the local government of San Carlos City where the solar farm sits on a 35 hectare field of saline soil, part of the San Carlos Ecozone.

It has 88,000 photovoltaic modules with 22 inverters with a total project cost of P1.9 billion on full equity financing.

SACASOL President Jose Maria Zabaleta said that the fact that the project was built on full equity financing also speaks greatly of our partners, ThomasLloyd Group, who have been right beside the company in every step of the way

Aquino said that the success of SACASOL fits with the administration’s goal of having a more diverse energy mix in order to meet the country’s needs for a more consistent energy supply.

“For the year 2013, the average available capacity of the Visayas Grid stood at 1,678 MW. Average peak demand was at 1,390 MW. There are adequate reserves, but, of course, given the current economic momentum of the country, we cannot be content with present conditions; we also have to plan for the future,” Aquino added.