First solar power plant starts construction next year

LINGAYEN–The first solar power project in Pangasinan is set to start construction by the second quarter of next year on a 70-hectare cogonal and unirrigated rice and corn land in Barangays San Bonifacio and San Roque in San Manuel town.

Hector Lim Jr., director for projects of the proponent Filipinas Newton Energy Corp. (FNEC), told the Sangguniang Panlalawigan (SP) on Monday that the San Manuel Solar Power Project 1 with the capacity to produce 70 megawatts of power for the Luzon Grid, will be located southwest of the San Roque Multi-Purpose Dam, a hydro-electric project along the upper stream of the Agno river which is now producing a maximum of 144 MGW, also for the Luzon Grid.

Lim said part of the project includes a 69Kv (Kilo-Volt) transmission line from the power plant to the Nagsaag Power substation owned by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in San Manuel town.

Asked by Fifth District Board Member Clemente Arboleda Jr. why the company chose San Manuel as the location of the solar power plant, Lim said the company determined that among all places in Pangasinan, it is San Manuel where strongest sunlight radiance is found and close to the Nagsaag substation in San Manuel.

FNEC, he said, is partnering with Integrated Battery Consult (IBC) Solar of Germany and another foreign company, MC RIE, in building the first solar power project in Pangasinan.

The company already obtained a service contract from the Department of Energy (DOE) to build the plant, an Environment Compliance Certificate from the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR), and was already issued with resolutions from the barangay councils of San Bonifacio and San Roque, San Manuel interposing no objection to both the solar power project and the transmission line.

Consultation with the residents of the host barangays and the municipal officials of San Manuel was also conducted, said Lim.

Lim made the presentation to seek the Sangguniang Panlalawigan’s endorsement.

Lim, a chemical engineer, said a one-hectare solar panel is expected to generate one MGW of power.

Asked by Board Member Liberato Villegas whether trees would be cut to give way to the project, Lim said the targeted area does not have much vegetation.

Once completed, he said, the project will provide clean and renewable source of energy since it does not need any fossil fuel to run.

Moreover, it will help provide Luzon additional source of power amid a projected power shortage in the country soon. (Leonardo Micua)