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Shining Bright: Philippines' Largest Floating Solar Power Project to Illuminate Luzon Grid

The Luzon grid, which provides electricity to the National Capital Region of the Philippines, will soon receive additional power from three floating solar farms in Laguna Lake within two years. Luzon is the largest island in the Philippines, an archipelago consisting of over 7,100 islands. The Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA), in collaboration with the Philippine Department of Energy (DoE), has allocated up to 2,000 hectares of the 91,170-hectare inland lake for floating solar projects. The LLDA holds the final decision-making authority in assigning projects to bidders. These solar projects will be situated in three cities and two towns on the southern and eastern shores of the lake, far from its commercial operations.

Three companies have successfully secured contracts to be completed within the next two to four years. ACEN is the largest contributor to the grid with over a thousand megawatts of capacity and eight contracts. Following closely is the partnership between Blueleaf Energy Asia Pte. Ltd. and SunAsia Energy, Inc. with six contracts and a total commitment of 610.5 megawatts (MW). Vena Energy Corp. holds a contract for 270 MW of capacity. The combined capacity of these 15 floating solar power contracts is 1,880.5 MW, equivalent to the electricity demand of over 2 million homes. Most of these projects are expected to conclude by 2026, forming the largest floating solar power project in Southeast Asia.

ACEN Corp., led by Ayala, will generate 1,100 MW across eight solar farm projects covering 800 hectares located in various spots around the lake. The LLDA selected the southern and eastern areas of Laguna de Bay for these projects, close to the boundaries of Calamba, Santa Rosa, and Cabuyao cities. Two other sites in the towns of Bay and Victoria in Laguna were chosen for their proximity to the Laguna grid, located about 70 kilometers (44 miles) from the capital city.

ACEN won the bid for the 800-hectare area in July 2023, but it is currently in the pre-development stage, awaiting the necessary permits before proceeding with construction. ACEN's president and CEO, John Eric Francia, anticipates that it will take two to three years for the project to begin commercial operations. This floating solar project plays a pivotal role in ACEN's 2030 objective of establishing a 20-gigawatt renewable energy portfolio while aiming to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by the same year. This initiative marks a significant milestone for the renewable energy sector in the Philippines.

SunAsia Energy, Inc. and Blueleaf Energy Asia Pte. Ltd. have secured six solar energy operating contracts from the Department of Energy (DOE) for floating solar projects with a combined capacity of 610.5 MW on Laguna de Bay, the Philippines' largest freshwater lake. These projects are expected to yield 1.3 gigawatts of electricity, sufficient to power over 1 million homes, with an estimated investment ranging between $1.5 billion and $1.7 billion. The DOE has awarded a total of 237 solar energy contracts, with a cumulative capacity of 1,282 MW and the potential to reach 21,452 MW. The agency aims to achieve 35% renewable energy in the country's energy mix by 2030.

Winning these floating solar contracts represents a substantial leap forward for renewable energy development in the Philippines, aligning with the country's renewable energy targets and addressing land use concerns. These projects are anticipated to create job opportunities and stimulate the local economy, with a commitment from SunAsia Energy and Blueleaf Energy to collaborate with local communities for mutual benefits. This achievement underscores the government's dedication to renewable energy and confidence in the potential of floating solar technology.

BlueLeaf Pte Ltd Asia, headquartered in Singapore, is a prominent solar power company with a substantial presence in Asia, having developed and operated over 2 GW of solar capacity across the globe, including projects in the Philippines, India, and Vietnam. The company is actively involved in the development of floating solar projects, contributing to carbon emissions reduction and improved air quality. BlueLeaf is a portfolio company of Macquarie's Green Investment Group (GIG), a global investment manager specializing in renewable energy and sustainable infrastructure assets, emphasizing collaboration with local communities for environmental sustainability.

The smallest in terms of generation capacity among the solar projects is the 270 MW Vena Energy Floating Solar Farm. However, it holds great significance for the province it serves, securing 200 hectares of land in the southern and eastern areas of Laguna de Bay, nearest to the Laguna grid. The Vena Energy floating solar project will directly supply power to the Laguna grid, serving the power needs of approximately 200,000 households and supplementing the grid's 1,000 MW power demand during peak hours. Vena Energy is a prominent player in the global solar energy industry and a subsidiary of Sembcorp Industries, an energy and urban development company with a solar portfolio exceeding 1.5 GW in Asia and Australia. Vena Energy is also engaged in developing a 1.3-GW floating solar project in India.

The floating solar power projects in Laguna Lake will supply power to both Metro Manila and Laguna, two of the most power-intensive grids on the main island of Luzon. The Metro Manila grid, requiring around 6,000 MW during peak hours, represents the second-highest power demand in the Philippines. This grid is a component of the 12,235 MW Luzon grid, encompassing the National Capital Region (NCR), which houses the majority of the country's population and industries. The Metro Manila grid is interconnected with the Laguna grid, allowing power sharing between the two grids. The Laguna grid primarily serves over 1,000 industries in Laguna, including those in the Santa Rosa industrial zone, such as automobile manufacturers Toyota and Mitsubishi, as well as various electronics manufacturing facilities. The floating solar power projects intended for Laguna are anticipated to generate enough electricity to power over 500,000 homes.

The floating solar power projects in Laguna Lake are part of the government's plan to increase the use of renewable energy in the Philippines. The provincial government of Laguna supports floating solar power as a promising renewable energy source due to its abundance, sustainability, and environmental friendliness. Furthermore, these projects are expected to create numerous job opportunities for the province's residents, promoting economic growth and sustainability in the region.


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