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Bacolod City, Philippines Tuesday, May 10, 2011
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Korean firm set to put up
solar plant in EB Magalona

BY CHRYSEE SAMILLANO

A Korean Company is putting up a solar farm on a 71-hectare property in Brgy. Sto. Niño, in E.B. Magalona, Negros Occidental to help improve the power supply in the province.

Youil Renewable Energy Corporation regional manager Gregory Pliny Lofamia yesterday said they can put up a 40 MW solar plant if they maximize the use of the land area, which he believes is more than the requirement of the municipality.

Lofamia said he will present the project to the Sangguniang Bayan of E.B. Magalona on Wednesday. During their initial talks, E.B. Magalona Mayor David Lacson expressed his support for the project, he said.

They want to promote and encourage renewable energy because the Philippines has very vast sources of power for RE, he added.

Lofamia said they will install the solar plant project themselves and it will take about nine months to construct.

They already have an initial agreement with the Maravilla family, who owns the property, on the lot purchase, he said.

Once constructed, the plant will operate from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily and will provide intermediate load needs in the daytime for the Victorias Rural Electric Company to help address the low voltage being experienced by the people in E.B. Magalona, he added.

Lofamia said he hopes they will get the support of the local government and other groups in E.B. Magalona because solar energy is clean.

“With solar power, you will start with a big capital but the return of investment will be recovered in 20 years and this will not be a burden to the consumers because of the Feed in Tariff policy,” he said.

He said, for example, that if they generate P18 per KWH, they will charge consumers of VRESCO at P18 if there is no Feed in Tariff. But with the FIT they will only charge P12 per KWH, he said.

Lofamia said the cost of solar power will be lower than conventional power because they do not need fuel, only sunshine to produce power. After three to five years, solar rates will reduce by 5-10 percent, he said.

He also presented the benefits of the project to the municipality and the environment during a forum at the Bishop’s House yesterday.

Lofamia said solar power is a proven technology and they installed a solar farm in Korea in 2007 and it is already operational.

In the Philippines, they have one solar farm in Cagayan de Oro that was installed in 2005 and it is still operating, he said.

Bacolod Bishop Vicente Navarra said they support solar energy because it is environment friendly and they are campaigning for the use of these environment friendly initiatives and are trying to convince the government to sponsor them.

He said they are against the establishment of coal-fired power plants because it is a hazard to the health of the people and eventually will be more expensive.

“I urge the people be more informed so they can make their voices heard and eventually convince our government officials to sponsor this kind of initiatives,” Navarra added.

The Social Action Center of the Diocese of Bacolod has issued a position paper against coal-fired power plants.

They have also written Negros Occidental Gov. Alfredo Marañon Jr. requesting for an audience with him to share their views about coal-fired power plants.*CGS

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