SPNEC scrambles to fund world’s largest solar farm – Inquirer.net

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Solar power firm SP New Energy Corp. (SPNEC), now headed by billionaire Manuel Pangilinan, is planning to sell 40 percent of the equity in Terra Solar Philippines Inc. to help build a P200-billion cache needed to develop what could be the world’s largest solar farm.

Pangilinan, chair and president of SPNEC told reporters last week that while they had already assigned a dedicated team to manage the development of the 3,500-megawatt (MW) solar farm, they also needed to “get more investors into Terra Solar to help us in financing.”“As we get more involved in the project, we are getting to see the complexities flow from the execution of a project of this scale,” Pangilinan said during the 2023 earnings briefing of Manila Electric Co. (Meralco).

Takeover

MGen Renewable Energy Inc. (MGreen), the renewable energy arm of Meralco, in December acquired 50.5 percent of the shares of SPNEC, which owns 100 percent of Terra Solar.

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MGreen later raised its stake to 55.96 percent, while businessman Leandro Leviste stepped down as president and CEO and was elected vice chair.

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This placed MGreen at the helm of the Terra Solar project that will be integrated with a 4,000-megawatt-hour battery energy storage system. SPNEC broke ground for the mammoth project last Jan. 1.

According to Pangilinan, they are in the process of talking to potential foreign investors for the equity sale.

However, Pangilinan said that among the “complexities” they had so far encountered was the relatively high cost of acquiring materials needed for the battery storage system.

“The supply chain is something we are concerned about. Not so much on the solar panels because the pricing appears to be on a decline, but we are feeling that the batteries could be problematic,” he said.

Land need

Also yet to be completed is land acquisition for the project that is expected to cover 3,500 hectares in the provinces of Nueva Ecija and Bulacan.

Pangilinan said about half of the total land was already titled, but they also needed to acquire more land to connect the solar farm to the transmission facilities of National Grid Corp. of the Philippines.

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When completed as planned, the Terra Solar project will be larger than the Philippines’ combined solar projects currently in operation—at over 1,500 MW, based on data from the Department of Energy.

SPNEC earlier said Tierra Solar will also be bigger than China’s 2,800-MW Golmud and India’s 2,250-MW Bhadla solar parks—the world’s largest solar farms so far.

The first phase of the project is seen to be delivered by the first quarter of 2026 following site clearing activities and the installation of 5 million solar panels.


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Tierra Solar is expected to generate over 5 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity a year, or an estimated 12 percent of the country’s annual demand. INQ

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