THE Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) recently renewed the certificate of compliance (COC) of Cagayan Electric Power and Light Co. Inc. (Cepalco) for its 950-kilowatt (kW) solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant  in barangay Indahag, Cagayan de Oro City.

The ERC said its evaluation revealed that the power plant remained compliant with the financial, technical and environmental requirements as stated in the ERC’s guidelines for the issuance of COC for generation companies/facilities, including the reportorial, technical and financial requirements.

Cepalco’s first COC for the solar PV facility was granted in September 2004; commercial operations started at the same time.

The ERC stated in its certification that the PV plant—which sits on a 2-hectare property—is a “fuel-less” electric generating plant. About 24,000 tons of carbon compound emissions are saved because of this facility. It does not use any fossil fuel and does not emit hazardous effluents into the rivers. The facility does not generate any kind of noise since there are no moving parts and does not need large storage batteries to store the generated energy since the power generated by the PV plant is fed directly to the distribution system.

The ERC noted that the plant is connected to Cepalco’s existing distribution lines with an annual energy generation of 1.3 million kilowatt-hours.

The plant operates only during the daytime, while monitoring and control are done remotely at Cepalco’s operations center in Puntod, Cagayan de Oro City through automated monitoring via distribution system supervisory control and data acquisition.

Cepalco’s PV plant is operated in conjunction with its 7-megawatt Bubunawan hydropower plant, enabling the joint PV/hydro operations to effectively reduce system demand.

The plant is also strategically located, being a distributed resource, enabling Cepalco to defer expansion or upgrades of lines and substations. With the aggregate installed capacity of 26,850 kW Cepalco is currently providing 1.55 percent of the maximum carrying capability in the Mindanao Grid and 0.19 percent in the National Grid. This is well within the market share limitations provided under Republic Act 9136, or the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

“Cepalco’s PV plant is very impressive for many reasons.  It uses renewable solar energy, is environment friendly and also contributes to the Cagayan de Oro City’s energy needs using the novel design of the conjunctive use of a hydro plant,” Alejandro Barin, ERC officer-in-charge, said.

Written by Paul Anthony A. Isla / Reporter  of BusinessMirror

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