Space solar panels
The Philippine government is laying down the ground work for the first public-private partnership (PPP)-based solar power project in Clark to boost local power generation. Image Credit: Pexel

Manila: A 25-megawatt solar farm project in New Clark City, 87km north of of the capital, is planned to be built via a public-private partnership (PPP) deal, the Philippines’ Bases Conversion and Development Authority (BCDA) announced Wednesday.

The large-scale solar project will be located on a 37-hectare parcel of land in the northern portion of the New Clark City.

The city in Central Luzon is a planned community currently undergoing development, located within the Clark Special Economic Zone (CSEZ) which straddles the towns of Bamban and Capas in Tarlac province.


$18 million solar farm project

At least Php1 billion ($18 million) will be earmarked for the project.

“In line with the renewable energy thrust of the Marcos administration, the BCDA is pushing for the development of sustainable energy sources in New Clark Citym,” BCDA president and chief executive officer Aileen Zosa told the Philippine News Agency.

The solar farm will supplement energy sources and is expected to lower energy costs for locators at the CSEZ, while also ensuring reduced carbon emissions, Zosa said.

On Wednesday (March 8, 2023), the authority opened the purchase of terms of reference (TOR) to interested bidders. A pre-bid conference will be held on March 24 at 10 am at Taguig City, Manila, at the BCDA Corporate Office.

25-year lease

A pre-bid conference will be held on March 24 at 10 a.m. at Taguig City, at the BCDA Corporate Office. Interested firms may submit their bid documents, eligibility requirements and financial for the solar project until noon of April 21, 2023.

The proRepublic Act 9513perty will be made available by the BCDA for a 25-year initial lease, which can be extended if both parties agree for another 25 years.

“The BCDA is calling for private sector partners to support us in this endeavour. Your participation is important as we strive to make New Clark City into a smart, sustainable and green city,” Zosa added.

A 2008 Philippine law aims to enhance the share of renewables in the nation's energy mix.

Republic Act 9513: Renewable Energy law
The Philippines' Republic Act 9513 or the 'Renewable Energy Act of 2008' was codified in December 2008.

It lays down the government's commitment to accelerate the utilisation of renewable energy resources in the country, in order curb harmful emissions and achieve economic development while protecting health and environment.

The law removes the nationality restrictions on the exploration, development, and utilisation of renewable energy resources such as solar, wind, biomass, ocean or tidal energy.

Solar with grid-scale batteries

The first solar-plus-storage microgrid in Asia went live in Paluan, a town of about 19,000 inhabitants on the island of Mindoro in 2018. It uses Tesla’s Powerpack lithium-ion grid-scale batteries charged by 2-megawatt solar panels manufactured by Solar Philippines.

COMMUNITY SOLAR POWER PROJECT: The first solar-plus-storage microgrid in Asia to use Tesla’s Powerpack energy storage syste was installed in 2018 to end power outages in the Philippine town of Paluan, Mindoro, Image Credit: Solar Philippines

Before this, the National Power Corporation (NPC) has been supplying power to Paluan, but only for 16 hours out of every 24 hours. The solar-plus-grid-scale battery solution supplies 24x7 power to the town today.

Solar Philippines, the project proponent, said then that the solution could be duplicated in other Philippine towns facing intermittent power outages.

The country's Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) regulates power rates, promotes competition, market development, ensures customer choice, curbs price gouging and abuse of market power in the electricity industry.

The Clark Special Econimic Zone has more than 1,200 “locator” corporations, with 114,891 workers. It also hosts the Clark International Airport, an up-and-coming gateway and Luzon's second-busiest, after Manila.

In 2020, the Philippines' Department of Energy (DOE), estimated that 12 million Filipinos lack access to electricity.

The Electric Power Industry Reform Act (EPIRA) became law in 2001, with its primary objective “to ensure and accelerate the total electrification of the country”.

It is estimated that we could satisfy the world's current demand for power by covering 1.2% of the Sahara Desert with solar panels.