THE Cagayan Electric Power and Light Company (Cepalco) will put up another PhotoVoltaic plant inside a proposed 10-hectare solar park in Villanueva town, Misamis Oriental.

A pre-feasibility study of the proposed project is already in the can.

The proposed photovoltaic plant, with a total installed capacity of at least 10-megawatt power (MWp), would be constructed over a period of at least five years and would use the best available solar technology in the market. It is expected to supply at least 14 million kWh of electricity annually to its distribution network.

“Construction of the plant would start in 2012 and is expected to give us savings of not less than 30,000 barrels of fuel oil per year,” he said.

The proposed power plant, to be constructed within the Cagayan de Oro Business Park in Villanueva town, is expected to help Cepalco capitalize on the increasing efficiency but decreasing cost of solar cells, which currently commands not less than 50 percent of a photovoltaic plant’s installed cost.

The new plant would also cushion the impact of generation cost to Cepalco’s costumers.

Lloyd Castillo, supervisor of Cepalco’s Customer and Community Relations department at the same time the environmental officer, said Cepalco is currently operating a 1 MWp polycrystalline silicon-based photovoltaic plant in Barangay Macasandig, this city, which uses 6,500 solar panels, considered as the first and largest on-grid solar photovoltaic power plant. It sits inside a two-hectare land in Sitio Tibasak.

The US$5.3 million photovoltaic plant was constructed through a fund from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and facilitated by the World Bank through the International Finance Corporation.

Castillo said the GEF fund was first sourced out as a loan but turned into a grant after five years of the plant’s operations.

The photovoltaic plant’s modules were manufactured by Sharp of Japan while Sansha manufactured the inverters. The balance of the system components are sourced locally.
Castillo said the photovoltaic power plant was designed in conjunction with the 7 MW run-of the-river hydro plant owned by Cepalco’s subsidiary company, the Bubunawan Power Company.

Presently, the plant has already produced a total of 4.169 million kWh or an average of 1.39 million annually, which is 10 percent higher than the company’s expected annual energy generation of 1.261 million kWh at its current generating capacity, an equivalent to not less than 900 Cepalco residential consumers.

Being the only one in the Philippines, around 10,000 students and visitors both local and foreign have already visited the photovoltaic plant in Tibasak. (Nicole J. Managbanag)

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