As major countries accelerate the expansion of renewable energy to avert climate disaster, records for installed power and the size of solar and wind farms are being surpassed frequently. The announcement of the constructing of what will be “the largest solar project in the world” has now come from the Philippine Islands.
SPNEC’s massive solar park build on Luzon
According to Solar Philippines New Energy Corporation (SPNEC), the energy company behind the project, it should be finished in two years and will have 5 million solar panels.
The solar park, called Terra Solar, will have 3,400 to 3,500 MW of solar panels and 4,000 MWh of battery storage. It will be built on an 3,500 hectares of forest land in Nueva Ecija and Bulacan, in Central Luzon.
The investment will amount to around 3.3 billion euros, and in total, the complex could generate more than 5 billion KWh per year.
SPNEC aims to fulfill a substantial portion of the Philippines’s energy needs, accounting for 5% of the total power supply and 12% of the demand. This park will surpass any other in the world in terms of size and capacity, including Bhadla in India and Golmund in China.
Building large solar plants like this one helps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. However, there’s a downside to these projects. They can harm biodiversity. When large areas of land are used for these projects, local wildlife and plants can be negatively affected. These are essential for maintaining balanced ecosystems, upon which our health depends.
Philippines emerges as large solar destination in the region
SPNEC first shared plans in 2021 to build a 500 MW solar farm in Luzon. Later that year, SPNEC made its debut on the Philippine Stock Exchange, with its initial public offering at PHP 1 per share. In 2022, the firm unveiled plans to add 3.5 GW to the original 500 MW solar farm, making the project eight times larger.
Leandro Leviste, the founder of SPNEC, said the firm had been trying to get land permits from the Department of Energy since 2016. The project will extend 60 kilometers to connect to NGCP’s (National Grid Corp. of the Philippines) substations that supply the Greater Manila Area.
Analyst pointed out that legal changes and a more open energy market have made the Philippines a go-to place for developing large-scale solar project in Southeast Asia.
A 2022 report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) indicated that the Philippines aims to install 15 GW of green energy by 2030. Due to its numerous islands, the country may prioritize mini-grids and independent clean power systems.