Aug 032016

MANILA, Philippines – Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) is looking at a possible partnership with Solar Philippines of young entrepreneur Leandro Leviste.

The power company is keen on a partnership in “some solar farms in Tarlac,” Meralco chairman Manuel Pangilinan said in an interview with reporters after the Financial Times-First Metro Philippines Investment Summit in Makati City Tuesday.

He said the solar power plant has a capacity of 135 megawatts (MW) but did not disclose the identity of the possible local partner.

Sought for further comment, Meralco SVP and head for customer retail services and corporate communications Alfredo Panlilio said in a text message the power distributor is under negotiations with a number of solar developers for power supply deals, which includes Solar Philippines.

“We are in discussions with several solar entities for (power supply agreements) PSAs including Solar Philippines. This is a normal process for us with our Energy Sourcing Group,” he said.

Solar Philippines declined to comment on the matter.

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Solar Philippines is developing a 135-MW solar farm in Tarlac, which will be the first plant to use Philippine-made solar panels by the same company, its founder and president Leandro Leviste said earlier.

In June, the solar developer announced plans to put up a $1-billion solar factory in Tanauan, Batangas in the next three years, with the first $100-million manufacturing line to start operating by December.

Leviste said the capacity of the Tarlac solar plant was raised to 150 MW as it will have a battery energy storage to compete as a baseload plant.

He said the solar farm will be “the biggest in the country but more importantly, the largest unsubsidized solar in the world and the largest with batteries.” It is eyed for completion in the first quarter of 2017.

For Meralco, the company is targeting to build a portfolio of up to 100 MW from solar rooftops, of which 20 MW is being looked at in the first year of operations of subsidiary Spectrum, Panlilio said earlier.

The Meralco group is also looking to have a portfolio of utility scale solar projects with an initial capacity of 50 MW soon, its president Oscar Reyes had said.

The entry into renewables, particularly solar, will balance Meralco’s investments in generating plants totalling 3,000-MW coal-fired power facilities under Meralco PowerGen Corp.

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