Solar Philippines Nueva Ecija Corporation (PSE:SPNEC) is looking to find a joint-venture (JV) partner that will help it expand its flagship 500-MWp Nueva Ecija solar farm project in Central Luzon, Philippines.
The solar energy developer made its plans for the project known while it was preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) and listing on the Philippine Stock Exchange. It was going to split the project into two phases -- the initial 225-MWp first phase, and once that is commissioned, start building the second 275-MWp portion of the Nueva Ecija plant.
The proceeds from the IPO would fund the construction of the first 50-MWp sub-phase, but the bigger chunk of the money would go towards the acquisition of land needed to expand Nueva Ecija beyond 500 MWp.
In a statement to the media on Wednesday, SPNEC said the expansion project would be the work of a joint venture with a partner, which has not been named.
“We are preparing an initial 1000 hectares for a joint venture with a partner who can help turn this plan into a reality,” said SPNEC founder Leandro Leviste, who also leads SPNEC’s parent company Solar Philippines.
There are challenges to building a solar project this size in Nueva Ecija province. As SPNEC explained, demand for power in the Central Luzon region is limited, so a power project in Nueva Ecija would have to rely on a new transmission line to connect to the neighbouring province and deliver the electricity further, to the Greater Manila Area.
“This project’s scale is both its advantage and disadvantage. Unlike 100 MW projects located next to existing transmission, this one will need to be at Gigawatt-scale to justify the development of new transmission, which is why others have not sought to develop in this area.” Leviste said.
“This is a bet on the demand for large-scale solar, and if such demand does come, this project can become larger than all the solar projects to date in the Philippines combined,” added Leviste.