Renewable energy firm explores Bantayan’s opportunities

A renewable energy firm expressed interest to put up a hybrid clean power source in Bantayan Island to beef up its base load capacity.

This developed after Governor Hilario P. Davide III’s meeting with local officials, power sector and residents in the island early March.

The Bantayanons were clamoring for additional power source as an assurance that no power shortage in the island will recur.

Edgar Hao, country representative of Upgrade Energy Philippines (UGEP), said the company is willing to come into the picture and install a solar farm in just three months.

However, Hao, in his brief meeting with Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) Chief BaltazarTribunalo, said they need two requirements.

One is a titled private property and a power purchase agreement with either the local power generator or the distribution utility.

Hao also stated that they are also open to enter into a joint venture agreement with a local partner if necessary.

Tribunalo said he will relay UGEP’s intention to Cebu Investment Promotion Office Chief Benjamin Yap and later on to the governor.

The municipality of Madridejos, which is one of the three towns in Bantayan, announced that they are willing to set aside two hectares of property for the solar panels. In a separate meeting, Madridejos Mayor Salvador DelaFuente said a businessman donated the property.

Hao said they are not keen to negotiate with public property because a bidding process would then be necessary as a requisite for transaction involving government.

“Given the urgency of the island’s power situation, we want to avoid the bidding process as it takes longer time,” he said.

Hao estimated that two hectares of lot would yield around two megawatts of solar energy.

If their plan pushes through, he said they will also install a biomass plant because solar energy would only be available during daytime. The biomass plant would supplement the power needs of the island at night.

UGEP is currently completing contracts to install an aggregate capacity of 2 megawatts (MW) on rooftops for several business and industrial establishments in Cebu for own use.

This is the result of UGEP’ business model of no upfront investment for those who wanted to install solar roof system. UGEP is completing a 1.8 MW solar roof system for CW Home Depot in Sta. Rosa Laguna and another 1 MW for Solaire Hotel and Casino in Manila. UGEP is also part of the group that completed the 25 MW solar farm in Silay City, Negros Occidental.