Higher auction floor price sought for floating solar

THE Philippine Solar and Storage Energy Alliance (PSSEA) said it asked the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) to raise the green energy auction reserve (GEAR) price for floating solar projects.

“PSSEA respectfully prays that the Honorable Commission consider P7.3661/kWh (kilowatt-hour) as the GEA-2 GEAR Price for Solar PV on Water and for the removal of the SESC as one of the requisites for solar developers,” PSSEA said in its position paper.

SESCs, or solar energy service contracts, are a prerequisite for solar developers. Under the current rules, only developers with SESCs can register to participate in the green energy auction program (GEAP).

Theresa C. Capellan, president of SunAsia Energy, Inc. and PSSEA chairperson, told reporters that the current rate for floating solar is inadequate.

According to the preliminary GEAR prices released by the ERC for the second round GEAP, the price for floating solar is P4.7565 per kWh, while that for ground-mounted solar is P4.2395 per kWh.

“They have to take into consideration that floating solar has a different ecosystem, it is like they are comparing it to ground-mounted. We just want it to be data-driven. If they are saying the capacity factor is 20%, then share the data, but the ERC never shared the data,” Ms. Capellan said on the sidelines of the SunAsia and Energy department’s ceremonial turnover of solar energy operating contracts on Wednesday.

In PSSEA’s position paper, the association argued that unlike ground-mounted solar panels, floating solar project costs are at least 20% higher due to the need to build floaters and account for the cost of mooring.

“They are requiring us to submit the data to show our (calculation) so they should also release theirs. What we submitted was P7; that is the industry position,” Ms. Capellan said.

“We are very thankful that they have recognized that the technology is different. That’s a good step but I think they have to understand that in order to open the doors to make floating solar commercial, they have to give high tariffs so that the pioneer that will (have to resolve) all the initial problems… can be compensated,” Ms. Capellan added. — Ashley Erika O. Jose