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Socot solar power plant to start operations by Nov

GENERAL Santos City – Foreign-backed energy firm NV Vogt Philippines Solar Energy One Inc. is targeting to start commercial streaming of the initial phase of its P1.3-billion solar power plant project in Surallah town in South Cotabato before the year end.

Reynaldo Casas, NV Vogt project president, said the construction of the first 5-megawatt (MW) component of the solar power plant is currently in full swing at its site in Barangay Centrala in Surallah town and is due for completion by November.

He said they already completed the development of the plant’s power sub-station as well as its office buildings and facilities.

On Wednesday, the company held a formal ground breaking ceremony for the installation of some 23,000 ground-mounted solar panels in its eight-hectare solar farm.

The event was led by NV Vogt director Vivek Chaudri and joined by local officials headed by South Cotabato Gov. Daisy Avance-Fuentes, South Cotabato (2nd District) Rep. Ferdinand Casas and Surallah Mayor Antonio Bendita.

Casas said the solar farm’s development is being handled by technical experts commissioned by the company’s Berlin, Germany-based mother firm ib vogt GmbH.

He said NV vogt personnel started building the solar farm earlier this month and will remain at the site in the next three months.

“We expect the first phase to go on stream commercially by November. So by then, there will an additional 5-MW of power supplies to augment the needs of consumers here in South Cotabato,” he said.

The company will begin the development of the 12-MW plant’s second phase by next year, he said.

Casas said the power supplies that will be generated by the solar plant will be distributed by South Cotabato 1 Electric Cooperative (Socoteco 1) though its power sub-station installed at the site.

Santiago Tudio, Socoteco 1 general manager, said the additional power supplies from the solar plant will not only benefit Surallah town but its entire franchise or service area.

He said they expect the streaming of an initial 4-MW or 80 percent of the solar plant’s capacity by November.

“We will utilize it to augment our needs during the morning peak hours,” he said.

Tudio said the additional power supplies will help offset the supply shortage currently affecting the area that had forced the electric cooperative to implement hour-long daily rotating outages.

NV Vogt initially launched the project in June 2013 following the signing of a bilateral power-purchase agreement between the company and Socoteco 1.

The electric cooperative serves this city, eight municipalities in South Cotabato and Lutayan town in Sultan Kudarat.

In August last year NV Vogt enlisted Armstrong Asset Management for an investment of US$ 29 million, or roughly P1.3 billion, to fund the construction of the project’s first phase.

At 5 MW, the solar plant’s initial phase would also be the biggest solar photovoltaic power project in the country, surpassing the 1-megawatt solar facility in Cagayan de Oro City. pna


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