By Myrna M. Velasco
Joint venture firm SN Aboitiz Power, Inc. (SNAP) will trail-blaze the installation of a floating solar technology at the Magat Dam in Ramon, Isabela, the facility that underpjns electricity generation of the company’s hydropower plant in the area.
The floating solar venture, according to SNAP, “is a feasible, quick-to-install alternative to land-based solar as it does not require land conversion.” SNAP is a tie-up firm between SN Power of Norway and Filipino company Aboitiz Power.
The installation at the Magat dam will be the company’s first, but it has been setting its sight for more solar project developments moving forward.
Floating solar technology comprises of array of solar panels or structures that could float in a body of water. And in the renewable energy (RE) genre, this technology solution has experienced remarkable growth globally in the past 2-3 years.
As previously cast by SN Power, it will be targeting capacity installations of 30-50 megawatts, but the initial step to that will be ensuring success at its pilot venture at the Magat Dam.
The company said the technology is scalable across their project sites and other areas at the prospective installation cost of US800,000 to $1.0 million per megawatt.
As previously set out, the floating solar pioneering venture in Isabela is of 200-kilowatt capacity and shall be developed at over 2,500-square meter site. The electricity generated from this pilot will be initially for the house load of SNAP’s Magat plant.
The company emphasized this will be a strategic new venture for the Aboitiz-Norwegian firm joint venture, as they always considered themselves not just a hydro company, but a more comprehensive renewable energy firm.
“As a company pushing for greener solutions, we aim for minimal environmental impact as possible in our projects,” SNAP Chief Executive Officer Joseph S. Yu stressed.
He added “if successful, SNAP will look into scaling up the project so that the power generated may contribute to its renewable energy capacity and energy security.”
On the part of the National Irrigation Administration (NIA), which is the government agency in-charge of the supervision and management of the Magat reservoir, it indicated that “a hectare of solar field can produce one megawatt of power.”
It further stressed that if 200 of the 4,500 hectares of the Magat dam reservoir will be utilized for the deployment of water-anchored solar power technology, this could potentially generate 200 megawatts.
Essentially, since this power installation will not be a development on a land, this will also spare about 200 hectares that could still be aligned for agricultural production.