By Myrna M. Velasco
SN Aboitiz Power, Inc. (SNAP) is currently in search for partners for its planned rollout of up to 50 megawatts of solar capacity installations to be undertaken over several years.
According to SNAP President and CEO Joseph S. Yu, the company is in talks with prospective local and foreign partners that could be their co-venturers in targeted portfolios of ground-mounted and floating solar facilities.
The company, which is a joint venture between Norwegian firm SN Power and Aboitiz Power Corporation, is currently pilot-testing a 200-kilowatt floating solar installation at its Magat hydropower facility in Northern Luzon.
“For that 50MW every year, in my mind that is a combination of floating and land-based solar projects,” Yu said, but he had not given tangible numbers yet as to the division of the project portfolios.
For utility scale ground-mounted solar, he indicated that such will likely be more of a Luzon play; while for floating solar, the firm can widen its project development terrains in other parts of the country or beyond Luzon.
“We would look at other areas, too, but I think Magat is a safe place for us to make our first foray because we got our plant nearby – the technical competence is there. We have a strong partnership with NIA (National Irrigation Administration), so it’s a good place to do it,” Yu stressed.
With the pilot venture still at its testing phase, the SNAP executive said he can’t lay down as to when they would be able to replicate the Magat floating solar venture to other parts of the country yet – or even when to expand it.
“We have to see on how quickly we can move each portfolio of projects,” he stressed, although he qualified that deployment cost for floating solar is still costly. In their Magat experiment, the 200-kilowatt facility amounted to US$400,000.
“But we know that you can’t do any mass production runs on the membrane, on the solar panels and on the inverters – we know that everything is a one-off,” the SNAP executive expounded.
Yu noted solar installations will certainly be the next focus of their investments along with battery energy storage systems – that would be in addition to the company’s core business on hydropower.
SNAP has been beefing up its portfolio not just on the solar development space, but also on future hydropower projects.