The Philippines ranked No. 1 among developing countries in Asia in terms of the use of solar photovoltaic systems for electricity generation, according to a Dutch consultancy firm.
Rotterdam-based Solarplaza also ranked the Philippines fifth worldwide, following Chile, South Africa, Brazil and Thailand.
“The country (Philippines) is still relatively young when it comes to solar development, but was able to get seven active projects ranked in the top 50 list,” Solarplaza research analyst Marco Dorothal said in a report.
Dorothal was referring to Solarplaza’s top 50 solar PV projects in emerging markets.
He noted that the biggest operational project in the Philippines was currently the 132.5-megawatt Cadiz solar power plant developed by Helios Solar Energy Corp., a joint venture between Thailand-based Soleq Solar Co. and Gregorio Araneta Inc.
“The commissioning of this plant solidifies the solar market in the Philippines as being capable of handling such large-scale utility projects,” Dorothal said.
Solarplaza also noted that homegrown firm Solar Philippines last March started building a 150-MW solar plant in Tarlac, making it the largest solar power project so far for the country.
Solar Philippines has also opened the country’s first PV module factory in Batangas.
As of June 2017, Solarplaza pegs the Philippines’ solar power installed capacity at 900 MW.
“The developments in the market are promising, but it still needs to be seen how much this will benefit the country as Solar Philippines aims to produce PV modules for the US and European markets,” Dorothal said.
Further, Solarplaza said that while the Philippines was going through some policy changes, the solar market had been getting much support from the government.
“Two new operating projects [that made it to Solarplaza’s Top 50 list] have led the Philippines to increase its capacity with 110 MW compared to what was previously reported,” Dorothal said.
“The country also has a major project still in the pipeline that could once again increase the [installed] MW capacity of the Philippines in the Top 50 list,” he added.
According to the International Energy Agency, solar power is turning into the cheapest source of new electricity generation capacity in many countries, especially in Asia.
“Solar is forging ahead in global power markets as it becomes the cheapest source of electricity generation in many places, including China and India,” IEA executive director Fatih Birol said in a statement.
The IEA expects that, over the next 25 years, the world’s growing energy needs are met first by renewables and natural gas as fast-declining costs turn solar power into the cheapest source of new electricity generation.
Solar PV systems are set to lead new generating capacity, mainly driven by the technology’s adoption in China and India.