San Carlos City, Negros Occidental — President Benigno Aquino III on Tuesday graced the inauguration of a 59-megawatt solar power plant in San Carlos City owned by San Carlos Sun Power, Inc., a subsidiary of Aboitiz Power Corporation.
Mr. Aquino, whose term will end in 72 days, said that he would miss attending “landmark inaugurations like this one,” and was optimistic about the future of the country.
“Our people will not let our gains go to waste and will choose to continue treading the straight path,” he said in his speech during the inauguration.
The P4.9-billion San Carlos Sun (SacaSun) project is San Carlos Sun Power’s first solar power plant in the area.
The 59-MW project is seen to deliver 82 GWh of clean and renewable energy to the Visayas grid every year, benefiting at least 33,000 homes.
“This represents our commitment to support the government’s push for a balance of renewable and non-renewable power sources to address the country’s increasing demand,” AboitizPower chief executive officer Erramon Aboitiz said.
Present during the ceremony were members of the Cabinet, local government officials and presidential sister Kris Aquino, among others.
From San Carlos City, the President and his party flew to Argao town in southern Cebu for a political rally.
In his speech, Mr. Aquino said that during his six-year term, his administration had commissioned 3,262 MW in installed capacity in 70 power plants, 38 of which were renewable.
Mr. Aquino also said that he was able to increase the Visayas’s capacity by more than 900 MW from around 1,300 MW at the start of his term in 2010 to 2,228 MW at present.
He also said that there is another 5,404 MW in the pipeline through 60 incoming committed projects, 42 of which are renewable.
“With the growing number of leaders in the private sector, we can achieve our goal of increasing renewable energy base capacity to 15,304 MW by year 2030,” said Aquino.
Even after he steps down on June 30 this year, President Aquino said he hopes the Aboitiz group will continue to be a consistent partner of government and that more companies will follow in its footsteps.
The SacaSun project started delivering energy to the Visayas grid on March 9, before the March 15 deadline imposed by the Department of Energy for solar power projects under the Feed-In-Tariff (FIT), an incentive scheme designed to encourage investment in and production of renewable energy.
SacaSun’s output is expected to qualify for FIT incentives and get priority dispatch in the electricity spot market under the FIT rate for solar power at P8.69/kWh.
The project sits on a 75-hectare property inside the San Carlos Ecozone in Barangay Punao, San Carlos City, Negros Occidental.
AboitizPower is one of the country’s largest producers of renewable energy, with a generation of 1,263 MW or close to 40 percent of its total net sellable capacity.
Other renewable energy projects in the pipeline are the 8.5-MW hydro plant in Isabela, 68-MW hydroplant in Bukidnon, and 8.8-MW biomass power facility in Batangas, among others.
“We are on track in achieving our goal to increase AboitizPower’s attributable generating capacity to 4,000 MW by 2020,” Aboitiz said.
Energy Secretary Zenaida Monsada said the share of renewable energy nationwide in terms of capacity is 34 percent, with the Visayas surpassing that of the national average with 46.3 percent.
She added that the Department of Energy is monitoring 700 committed and indicative renewable energy projects at present.