ThomasLloyd ups stakes on Philippine solar

The Munich-based renewables investment group has acquired two plants with a generating capacity of 41MW in the Visayas region.

ThomasLloyd, the German-based investment firm, has bought three new solar power stations on the Philippine island of Negros. 

The plants, due to reach completion in June next year, will have a generating capacity of 41 megawatts (MW) of electricity. Once connected to the grid, they will cater for 82 percent of the additional capacity needed in Negros in 2016, according to the Philippines’ Department of Energy. Visayas, where the island is located, ranks among the three regions most in need of new power capacity in the country.  

“We’re very pleased to be able to extend our commitment to more energy security and therefore to improving the living conditions of people on the Visayas,”said T.U. Michael Sieg, chairman and chief executive officer of ThomasLloyd, which bills itself as the largest renewable energy investor in the Philippines. 

The investment will be made via ThomasLloyd's Clean-tech Infrastructure Fund. San Carlos Solar Energy (SaCaSol), the vehicle's holding company, has appointed Hamburg-based engineering and construction group Conergy as general contractor for the project.

The existing plant of SaCaSol I A&B, in San Carlos City, will be extended with two new adjacent plants, named SaCaSol C&D. These will have a joint installed capacity of 23MW and generate 34,300 megawatt hour per year (MWh/y), enough to cover for the needs of 14,300 local homes and save 21,033 tons of carbon emissions.

A third solar plant, SaCaSol II A, will be constructed in La Carlota City, north east of the island. It will have an installed capacity of 18MW and generate 26,539MWh annually, sufficient to power about 11,000 homes.

Plans of another plant – with a capacity of 14MW – are already being discussed for 2015. 

“Apart from the beneficial climate conditions, we value the political and economic conditions found in the Philippines. This is further endorsed by the international rating agencies of Moody’s, Standard&Poor’s and Fitch, all of who rate the country as investment grade,” said Tony Coveney, head of project finance at ThomasLloyd.

The restructuring of the electricity sector in the Philippines gathered pace in 1994 after a World Bank study advocated for a radical reform of the industry, leading to the liquidation of the National Power Corporation (NPC)’s financial obligations through 26 privatisations of operational plants.

The Philippines has since emerged as an attractive and competitive power market in the eyes of industry insiders, with global advisory KPMG forecasting about $25 billion of high capacity interconnection investment opportunities in the country in the years to 2030.