December 06, 2020 at 07:25 pm
Alena Mae S. Flores
SN Aboitiz Power Corp. is mulling over the construction of a 67-megawatt floating solar power project after the pilot 200-kilowatt facility over the Magat reservoir in Isabela province showed positive results.
“The pilot project and the initial pre-feasibility study conducted by SNAP on the floating solar have shown positive results. We are now conducting a feasibility study to validate the initial results and confirm the viability of a commercial-scale project which may have a capacity of 67 MW or higher to be placed also on the Magat reservoir,” SNAP president and chief executive Joseph Yu said.
SNAP, a joint venture of SN Power of Norway and Aboitiz Power Corp., switched on the pilot project in June last year. It was the first non-hydro renewable project of SNAP, which was also looking at other renewables and complementary technologies to expand its portfolio.
“The FS phase is expected to run for about 10 to 12 months. We have no firm numbers yet on costs that we can disclose at this stage,” Yu said.
SNAP invested nearly P24 million in the floating solar facility on a 2,500-square meter area over the Magat reservoir.
The project supplies most of the internal household load of the Magat facility such as the control room, lights and air-conditioning.
The circular floating solar installation—whose design was inspired by the Amazon water lily—is made up of 720 solar panels held in place by four mooring systems.
SNAP tapped Ocean Sun, a Norwegian floating solar technology provider, for the pilot project.
Yu earlier said SNAP might also look at other locations for the floating solar project because “it is a good, fast, economical and sustainable way to bring capacity on.”
He said SNAP was looking at putting up around 25-MW to 50-MW ground-mounted and floating solar projects annually to expand its renewable energy portfolio.
“I’d like to at least have maybe 50 MW a year, 25 MW to 50 MW a year, that we could trade,” Yu said.
He said the expansion would continue “as long as the market could bear it.”
“And I would look at the whole portfolio and look at the balance between what’s solar,” Yu said.
SNAP said it would also continue developing hydro projects and possibly wind projects if there were opportunities.
“SNAP has never dabbled on wind, onshore or offshore. But if it’s there, we can put resources on that,” Yu said.
He said SN Aboitiz would also develop battery energy storage systems.
SN Aboitiz is developing the $550-million 390-MW Alimit hydropower complex in Ifugao province.
The company owns and operates the 388-MW Magat hydro on the borders of Isabela and Ifugao; the 8.5-MW Maris hydro in Isabela; the 105-MW Ambuklao hydro in Benguet; and the 140-MW Binga hydro also in Benguet.