Newly-listed Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation (SPNEC) has begun construction of what is planned to be the largest solar project in Southeast Asia.
The company began mobilizing for the construction last week, led by the in-house engineering, procurement and construction team of parent firm Solar Philippines.
SPNEC is using part of the proceeds from its P2.7-billion initial public offering to build the first 50-MW phase of solar project and the interconnection facilities for the full 500-MW project, and acquire land to expand the project.
The company said the first 50 MW is targeted to begin delivering power to the grid by the end of 2022, paving the way for SPNEC to reach profitability and construct the rest of the project by 2023.
The project is designed for the full 500 MW, using land that SPNEC has been developing since 2016.
Once the first 50 MW begins delivering power to the grid, SPNEC plans to install solar panels for the next 175 MW in six months and be ready to install solar panels for the rest of the 500 MW after over a year, given the relative ease of adding capacity to an already operating solar farm.
Solar Philippines’ EPC team implemented the company’s now operational solar farms in Calatagan, Batangas and Concepcion, Tarlac.
Located in Peñaranda, a fourth class municipality in Nueva Ecija, the project is expected to create over 5,000 jobs during construction and over 500 jobs during operations.
The company is investing in training locals in solar panel installation, given the expected scale of projects in this area over the coming years.
SPNEC earlier announced that it was using the rest of its IPO proceeds to develop a 1,000-hectare expansion for a joint venture with a partner who can help turn the plan into a reality.
The company has noted that teaming with the country’s leading companies is key to accelerate the transition to renewable energy.
SPNEC said the co-location of the first 500 MW and the 1,000-hectare expansion in the same area would support the development of new transmission lines and bring economies of scale to solar in the Philippines. The two projects are Larger than all similar plants to date in the Philippines combined.
The initiative is in response to the Department of Energy’s decision to increase the renewable portfolio standard target to 35 percent of the country’s energy sources from renewables by 2030, which would translate into the need to build over 20,000 MW of solar power.