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100MW Subic solar plant connects to Luzon grid

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By Myrna M. Velasco

The 100-megawatt peak (MWp) Subic solar farm of Filipino firm Jobin-SQM, Inc. (JSI) has been authorized to connect and wheel its capacity to the Luzon grid via the 230-kilovolt (kV) substation of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in Subic, Zambales.

The developer-firm JSI of the solar facility is a subsidiary of Emerging Power, Inc. (EPI), the power generation company of the Zamora group, which is also into mining and banking among other businesses.

The nature of approval rendered by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) warrants the installation of a “dedicated point-to-point limited facilities to connect the 100MWp power project to the Luzon grid.”

It has been noted that by transmitting the solar facility’s electricity output, it will not only increase electricity supply to the grid but such will also support the government’s bid to hike the share of renewables in the country’s energy mix.

The total project cost had been pegged at P1.034 billion – comprising of the connection assets of JSI at P774.029 million; and the needed upgrade and modification of the NGCP Subic substation costing P260.439 million.

On ensuring the technical integrity of the connection facility, JSI has commissioned MN Electro Industrial Supply & Services as the third party entity that had undertaken system impact study “to determine the technical feasibility of connecting the 100MW solar power plant to the Luzon grid.”

The company has similarly engaged the services of S.L. Development Construction Corporation and Harty Inc. for the supply, construction and installation of the prescribed connection facilities.

In the ERC ruling, it specified that while the assets connected to the NGCP substation in Subic also serve other customers like the Subic-Enron power plant, such cannot be considered a dedicated point-to-point facility.

Nevertheless, the power industry regulator qualified that the facilities intended for the 100MWp solar plant of JSI can be single-handedly classified as dedicated point-to-point facility as underpinned by the provisions of the Electric Power Industry Reform Act.

The ERC thus emphasized that “as to the assets connecting JSI’s 100 MWp solar power plant to NGCP’s Subic substation, these assets are dedicated point-to-point limited facilities qualified under Section 9 of EPIRA.”

The regulatory agency further decreed that “if these assets are removed or cut, only JSI will be disconnected since these are solely used by JSI’s generating facility.”

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