The initial phase of the first solar photovoltaic (PV) plant in the Philippines has been energised.

The 13 MW facility will be expanded to 22 MW in the coming months and is part of an incentive programme launched by the Philippines government to attract investment in solar energy. The project is being designed and built by PV specialist Conergy, which is the largest utility-scale PV construction firm in Thailand and among the top five in the UK.

According to Conergy, the conditions for PV in the Philippines are "perfect". The government’s initiative targeted the construction of 50 MW of solar PV in three years to help overcome rapid growth in electricity demand and frequent blackouts.

Climate change is also high on the agenda in the Philippines due to its large coastline. Speaking at a ceremony to mark the opening of the San Carlos City PV farm, Benigno Aquino III, President of the Republic of the Philippines said that the project "serves as a shining example of the collective steps we are taking to minimize climate risk – the fruit of our efforts to ensure that future generations will not be subject to the same vulnerabilities as we are now [experiencing]", referencing Typhoon Yolanda.

Marc Lohoff, CEO for Asia Pacific, Conergy, said: "Conergy is working internationally with its partners to unlock the barriers to the wider adoption of solar. Utility-scale solar plants can be built quickly and cost-effectively, with relatively low operational and maintenance costs. When well designed, and properly constructed, they can play an important role in reducing pressures on domestic power generation."

The solar park is owned by San Carlos Solar Energy Inc. and was financed by ThomasLloyd Group. Development work was undertaken by local specialist, Bronzeoak Philippines.

Sian Crampsie