By Myrna M. Velasco
The power generation arm of Manila Electric Company (Meralco) is targeting to install 110-megawatt floating solar direct current (DC) facility in Laguna Lake.
Rogelio L. Singson, president and CEO of Meralco PowerGen Corporation, indicated that the project shall become part of the portfolio of its subsidiary MGEN Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen).
He said the company is now in talks with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) for the planned floating solar venture, which it is hoping to advance to implementation phase soon.
“We are applying for a pilot in Laguna Lake – we’re looking at a 110MW DC of floating solar,” Singson said.
The MGen chief executive added that they are now in discussion with a prospective partner for the propounded solar facility – but he kept the identity of the company under wraps for now pending any outcome of their negotiations.
He said there had been four entities that were granted permits by the LLDA to undertake pilot projects for floating solar at the bay, “so we’re talking to one of them.”
Singson similarly qualified that they did not crunch the investment figures yet, but their assessment exhibits that floating solar will cost less than ground-mounted installations.
“So far, the numbers are not as expensive as the land-based,” Singson stressed; emphasizing that if the project will be concretized, its capacity will be wheeled to the grid.
The floating solar is seen next in the investment portfolio of MGen in the RE space – after announcing the 210MW ground-mounted solar ventures that the company will be pursuing in Luzon.
The longer term investment trajectory of the Meralco firm in the renewable energy sector will be for 1,000 to 1,200 megawatts – and that could be a mix of developments in solar, wind, hydro and biomass technologies.
However, Singson opined that these targeted investments must be underpinned with warranted expansion and reinforcement of the transmission system so the capacities of these RE facilities won’t be stranded.
Without increasing the capacity-transport of the transmission facilities, he emphasized that investments in RE could be hobbled – similar to the ‘congestion dilemma’ that the solar farms have been experiencing in Negros.