P3B agri-solar power plant to rise in Silay with energy storage system

E Lopez Barangay Captain Joel Arce, Vice Mayor Tom Ledesma, Citicore Chairman Edgar Saavedra, Silay Mayor Joedith Gallego, Citicore President and CEO Oliver Tan, Board Member Manuel Frederick Ko, Citicore Director Louie Ferrer, and Councilor Mike Maravilla (3rd to 10th from left) at the groundbreaking rites.*

The groundbreaking of a P3 billion 69 megawatt-peak (MWp) solar power plant with battery energy storage system was held at Barangay Eustaquio Lopez, Silay City, Negros Occidental, Tuesday morning, February 20.

Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation is building the first solar power plant in Negros Occidental with a Solar PV Plus battery energy storage system that will allow the retention of power even at night, Oliver Tan, CREC president and chief executive officer, said.

Citicore Solar Negros Occidental 2 will also be the first agri-solar project in Negros as farmers will be able to plant root crops and vegetables beneath the solar panels “so the agriculture intent of the land is not displaced”, Tan said.

Their firm already has agri-solar plants in Luzon, he said.

Citicore Solar Negros Occidental 2, currently covers a land area of 69 hectares, and has a future expansion plan to a total gross installed capacity of 100MW. Commercial operation is expected by the end of 2024, or early 2025, as part of CREC’S deliverables for the government’s Green Energy Auction Program (GEAP) 2, Tan said.

The company’s first plant in the province, Citicore Solar Negros Occidental, also in Silay was commissioned in 2016 and has an installed capacity of 25MWp. Upon completion of its second plant, CREC’s facilities in the province will have a combined installed generation capacity of 94MWp, Tan said.

CREC leased the 69 hectares for its new solar power plant in Silay from the Ramos family, he said.

It will provide 500 to 700 jobs during the construction phase, and 30 when it begins operations, he said.

The host barangay will receive 1 centavo for every kilowatt hour of power produced by the plant, and CREC will also be paying taxes to Silay City, Tan said.

Tan said they have discussed with Silay City Mayor Joedith Gallego the possibility of directly supplying solar power to Silay’s new city hall when it is built. It would enable the city to avail of cheaper power, he said.

Citicore Renewables, which is 100 percent Filipino owned, has 10 solar plants in various parts of the country, he said.

Tan said just as the Philippines is seen as a “bright spot” in Southeast Asia for renewable energy, he believes Negros Occidental can further develop with the entry of more RE projects – not only addressing urgent environmental concerns, but also bringing substantial socio-economic gains while enhancing energy access, security, and self-sufficiency.

“We support Negros Occidental, its steps towards the renewable energy transition.
With the completion of this project, we will not only be able to augment the power generation needs of Negros Occidental and the Visayas grid, but also contribute to the growth of the province,” he said.

CREC has set a goal to contribute approximately 1GW of ready-to-build solar energy capacity per year for the next five years in line with the Department of Energy’s
(DOE) Philippine Energy Plan which targets to achieve a 35 percent RE share in the power generation mix by 2030 and 50 percent by 2040, Tan said.

CREC Chairman Edgar Saavedra stressed the urgency to build more RE capacities in line with the national government’s plan.

“Our vision is to power a First-World Philippines, and CREC is committed to helping our government achieve its vision for clean energy,” Saavedra said.

Citicore Solar Negros Occidental 2 is part of CREC’s projects in the company pipeline.

It is also part of the 792MW worth of renewable energy capacities awarded to the company during the government’s 2023 Green Energy Auction Program, he said.

“With more projects in the pipeline, CREC is committed to working with the DOE and local governments as we transition to more renewable sources of energy for the Visayas and our country,” Saavedra said.

Mayor Gallego thanked CREC for investing in Silay City that is aiming to become a first class city.

The taxes paid by CREC will benefit the people of Silay City through various projects, Gallego said.

It will also provide jobs to Silaynons, he said.*

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