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DOE awards 6 floating solar energy deals for 610MW on Laguna Lake

The Department of Energy (DOE) on Wednesday awarded six solar energy operating contracts (SEOCs) to SunAsia Energy Inc. and its Singapore-headquartered partner Blueleaf Energy for the development of large-scale floating solar facilities on the surface of Laguna Lake.

At a ceremony in Taguig City, Energy Secretary Raphael Lotilla awarded the six SEOCs to SunAsia president and CEO Tetchi Capellan and Blueleaf CEO Raghuran Natarajan.

The six solar contracts have a combined capacity of 610.5 megawatts (MW), covering floating solar facilities to be installed on Laguna Lake which will span across the cities of Calamba, Sta Rosa, and Cabuyao and the towns of Bay and Victoria.

Each contract has a 25-year operating period.

Natarajan said the six SEOCs are the first phase of the total 1.3 gigawatts (GW) of floating solar projects that SunAsia and Blueleaf plan to install.

“This project, in total, are 10 service contracts which could be around 1.3 GW in terms of capacity,” he said, noting these are worth “$1.5 billion to $1.7 billion of investment capital.”

“We will be coming back for four more service contracts which will be issued very quickly,” he added.

SunAsia, a developer of sustainable solar energy in the country since 2013, is a wholly owned Filipino company.

On the other hand, Blueleaf is a stand-alone portfolio company of Macquarie's Green Investment Group.

In September 2022, during the state visit of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to Singapore, Blueleaf signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) to increase its sustainable infrastructure investment commitment in the Philippines.

"The awarding of these contracts accelerates the implementation of the thrust of President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. to develop indigenous and renewable sources of energy. It also represents an additional strategic investment and a firm commitment to strengthen the country's renewable energy sector, especially the commercialization of floating solar as an emerging technology," Lotilla said.

The energy chief added that these floating solar projects would provide cost-effective renewable energy production without having to occupy usable land mass that could otherwise be used for other important sectors such as agriculture.

“Land use is becoming a big issue for renewables. People are worrying about competing uses of land, and in some markets, you might struggle to find land. So, there is a strong incentive to build on water as the Philippines gears up for an ambitious 46 GW solar energy installations in 2040 and, at the same time, increase power supply in the country,” Capellan said.

To date, a total of 237 solar energy contracts with an aggregate installed capacity of 1,282 MW and a potential capacity of 21,452 MW have been awarded by the DOE.

This has generated around P8.46 billion in investments for the country, according to the DOE. —NB, GMA Integrated News