SPNEC to start building world's largest solar farm this year

SP New Energy Corporation (SPNEC), the country’s emerging solar power giant, is planning to break ground this year its massive 3,000 megawatt Nueva Ecija solar expansion project.

During the firm’s Annual Stockholders’ Meeting, Solar Philippines Founder Leandro Leviste said this is the project to which the company has invested the bulk of the proceeds of its capital raising activities.

Solar Philippines Founder Leandro Leviste

This includes SPNEC’s P2.8 billion stock rights offering and Metro Pacific Investments Corporation’s initial P2 billion investment.

The Nueva Ecija project, which has been expanded to 3,000 hectares from 2,000 hectares, is planned to be one of the world’s largest solar power plants and will be controlled by SPNEC. Target start of commercial operations is in 2026.

"We have ongoing discussions on shareholding arrangements in certain of our projects, to find solutions that will benefit all parties,” said Leviste.

He noted that, “Out of deference for these discussions and respect to our partners, we will not yet elaborate, other than to say that: We believe that it is in SPNEC’s interest to invest in projects where it has a controlling stake, and that SPNEC is best served by allocating its capital to projects where this is the case."

The Nueva Ecija expansion project comprises over 3,000 hectares acquired or being acquired in the same general area as the company's first Nueva Ecija solar farm covering an area of over 350 hectares, which would bring the group's total land in the area secured to over 3500 hectares.

This scale is enabled by Solar Philippines having been consolidating land and permits for this project since 2016, when it applied for its first Department of Energy (DOE) solar energy service contract in this area.

The clustering of projects in the same area also supports the development of transmission, which would extend over 60 kilometers to connect to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines’ substations that supply the Greater Manila Area.

With a total planned 4 GW of solar farm developments, the company's combined developments in the Nueva Ecija area would surpass the capacity of India’s Bhadla Solar Farm, currently the world’s largest farm at over 2.2 GW; as well as surpass the capacity of the total grid-connected solar operating in the Philippines as of the end of 2022 at over 1.4 GW.