Marawi City hosts a 4.7B solar power to lower its electric cost at P3.00 per kw PDF Print E-mail
Friday, 21 February 2014 16:09

It was good power news when a fellow Zamboangueño Mike Banos, a media practitioner based in Cagayan de Oro, informed me this week about the solar energy plant to be built in Marawi City this year. The better news is that the solar power will only cost P3.00 per kilowatt hour compare to its present rate of P6 per kilowatt hour. It will also earn P50 million a year for the Marawi local government.

This is according to the news written by Froilan Gallardo (http://www.mindanews.com/top-stories/2014/02/18/p4-7b-solar-power-plant-to-rise-in-marawi ).  To quote Gallardo, “Marawi City officials and the United States-based Mendoza Solar Company broke the grounds Monday in Barangays Malimono and Matampay-Cormatan where the P4.7-billion photovoltaic plant will be constructed. The solar plant will be the biggest in the Philippines, placing the country second only to Thailand, Asia’s top solar producer, officials claimed. ‘This is a game changer for Marawi City. Solar energy will provide cheap energy to our residents,’ Marawi City Mayor Fahad Salic said.”

Despite Marawi City is near Maria Cristina Falls, the source of hydropower in Mindanao, it also suffers blackouts due to power source mismanagement. The Power Sector Assets and Liabilities Management Corporation (PSALM Corp) supplies the electricity in Marawi City after the Lanao del Sur Electric Cooperative incurred more than P7 billion in debts.

3 years ago when I was the Executive Director of Zamboanga Chamber of Commerce, I was pushing for the construction of the solar plant in our city. The cold receptions of our local politicians, the not so keen attitude of ecozone officials, and the self-vested interest of local business people discouraged a solar company from investing in our city that time.  The president of this solar company said they can build the solar plant in Zamboanga City within four months at no cost for the local government.  If it pushed thru, it could have been the biggest power solar plant in the Philippines, helped reduced our monthly electric bills, and minimized the black outs we have been experiencing. It could have been an added tourism attraction too for our city.

In Marawi City, the local government provided the 30 hectares of land for Marawi City Solar Photovoltaic Power Plant and another 50 hectares to transform the rolling hills of Barangays Malimono and Matampay-Cormatan into a solar power park. Compare to our city, solar power companies that want to invest here are not given the proper assistance/attention, and sadly to note, are often given the round-around. They have to find the land areas themselves for one and pay high rental cost. Since solar power are into business, it has to pay, a top local government executive insisted. The solar company went to another city in Mindanao where it will build its solar power.     

Winston Lorenzana Mendoza, chair of the Mendoza Solar Power Company, said that for the project, his company managed to obtain a standby financing of $800 million and another $500 million from a consortium of US banks.  Engr. David Tuali, a consultant who brokered the deal between Marawi and Mendoza Company, said cheap electricity rate is possible under the Feed-in Tariff (FIT) payments from the national government under the Renewable Energy Law.  “The government will be the one paying Mendoza Company while guaranteeing that Marawi City government will get its share. Everyone wins in this deal,” Tuali said.

Energy Assistant Secretary Daniel Ariaso Jr. said Mendoza Company is required to implement 80 percent of the project eight months after the groundbreaking ceremony.  “Otherwise the service contract the government signed with Mendoza will be terminated. They cannot go in business. That is how strict the renewable energy law is. We will come back by September this year to inspect the implementation,” Ariaso said.


By Dante Corteza

Colossians 3:2. “Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. “