Solar-powered facilities in Davao del Sur backed
A mayor in Davao del Sur has joined the ranks of those advocating the massive deployment of solar-powered facilities in Mindanao to help stabilize power supply in the island.
In a statement, Mayor Franco Magno Calida of Hagonoy, Davao del Sur noted that the use of these facilities would help avert the continuous power outages in the province.
Hagonoy, according to Calida, has opened its doors to prospective investors in solar power generation.
He said that the province has about 40 hectares of land available for solar farms and a ready workforce for construction and security.
“It is also possible to turn these sprawling solar farms into tourist destinations,” Calida added.
Calida lamented that the 50-megawatt installation target allocated for solar power generation was too small, even for Mindanao alone. This installation target will effectively limit the capacity of power plants that will be put up over the next three years.
“The government should grant a larger target for solar plants nationwide, most especially for Mindanao’s developing municipalities like Hagonoy,” he said.
Solar plants nationwide
The 50-MW installation target was half of the 100-MW target initially recommended by the National Renewable Energy Board and only 18 percent of the 269-MW solar installation target originally presented by Energy Secretary Jose Rene D. Almendras to President Aquino during the launch of the National Renewable Energy Program in June.
Earlier, local officials and business groups in Mindanao have shown keen interest in solar power because a 10 MW solar farm can be installed in six months to immediately address the current capacity shortage and effectively complement local hydroelectric power plants, especially during the dry season.
There is a need to diversify the power sources in Mindanao as the island’s generating capacity heavily relies on the weather and on water supply, since over half of the electricity requirements of Mindanao are generated by the hydroelectric power plants.
Energy officials, however, believed that Mindanao instead needs baseload facilities, such as those powered by coal, in order to truly avert power outages in the island.
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