Solar Farm in Nueva Ecija a $3.4 bn Mega Project in the Philippines

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A solar farm in Nueva Ecija estimated at US $ 3.4 billion, is on its way to becoming one of the “world’s largest solar projects.”

A Solar Farm in Nueva Ecija with a 3.5 GW capacity

The solar farm, Terra Solar, will hold more than 5 million solar panels and have a total capacity of 3.5 GW. It will also feature a battery storage of 4,000 megawatts per hour (MWh).

According to SP New Energy Corporation (SPNEC) vice-chairman Leandro Leviste, the project will be interconnected to the national grid and serve the greater Manila area.

The project will be built in the Province of Nueva Ecija located in Central Luzon. It will occupy 3,500 hectares of land, a space sufficient for 5 million solar panels. According to Leviste, the project site is currently undergoing clearing operations to hit the 2026 opening target.

This massive solar farm will be delivered in 2 phases. The first phase of delivery is the installation of 2,500 MW solar panels by 2026. The second phase is 1,000 MW solar panels functional by 2027.

The anticipation for the project builds, as Terra Solar becomes one of the largest solar farms in the world. Once completed Terra Solar will be larger than India’s Bhadla Solar Park and China’s Golmud Solar Park, solar farms which offer a capacity of over 2,200 MW.

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The Impact on the Philippine Grid

With its prime location near the equator, the Philippines receives 5-6 hours of sunlight daily or 2,103 hours a year. This shows a great potential for harnessing solar energy in the country. Similarly, the Philippines is third in Asia-Pacific electricity prices after Japan and Singapore. Solar power poses a strong economic advantage for the country because of the steady rise of electricity costs in the Philippines.

In line with this, Terra Solar Philippines, a subsidiary of SPNEC, will spearhead the Terra Solar Farm in Nueva Ecija. The farm is expected to generate 5 billion kWh a year, exceeding the capacity of other grid-connected solar projects in the Philippines. Additionally, Terra Solar will contribute energy equal to 5% of the Philippine’s total output, or 12% of the overall demand.

To connect with the local grid, Terra Solar Philippines will also execute plans for a 60-kilometer extension to the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) substations to serve the Greater Manila Area.

Initially, SPNEC shared plans for a proposed 500 MW solar farm in Luzon. After the company’s debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange (PSE) in 2021, the proposal was changed to the 3,500 MW project we know now.

Driving the Terra Solar Project forward

In a bid to support the project’s development, Manuel V. Pangilinan, the Chairman of SPNEC, stated that the company is in the process of onboarding two foreign investors. According to him, the company is open to selling 40% of its shares, with SPNEC holding the remaining 60%.

Similarly, MGen Renewable Energy Inc., the renewable energy firm distributor of Meralco, invested a Php 15.9 billion (US $ 275 million) share subscription in the company just last year.

Finally, solar farms like Terra Solar benefit the environment in multiple ways. Solar energy is a free renewable source that reduces the use of other energy sources that negatively impact the environment. Solar energy is clean, does not produce water pollution, and emits greenhouse gasses.

But while there are positives, there are negatives as well. The production of solar panels uses toxic and harmful materials which can indirectly affect the environment. Solar farms also require significant land area, potentially affecting and displacing the local wildlife ecosystem.

Regardless, the Terra Solar farm in Nueva Ecija will steer the Philippines towards the worldwide movement of renewable forms of energy.

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