SN Aboitiz Power Corp., a joint between SN Power of Norway and Aboitiz Power Corp., plans to generate 30 to 50 megawatts of capacity from a floating solar project in the Magat dam reservoir.
“We have always viewed ourselves as a renewable energy company—not just a hydro power producer,” said SNAP Group president and chief executive officer Joseph Yu.
“As a company pushing for greener solutions, we aim for minimal environmental impact as possible in our projects. We espouse a nexus approach to development, where we recognize the interdependence of food, water, and energy and optimize them for balance and synergy,” he said.
SNAP is piloting a 200-kilowatt floating solar project in the Magat Dam reservoir after receiving the go-signal from the National Irrigation Administration.
The pilot project will be constructed over a 2,500-square meter area over the Magat reservoir and will focus on providing internal power to SNAP’s facilities in the area.
SNAP will conduct a stress test to ensure the facility works through incidences of massive inflows and strong typhoons.
“The intent is to stress test it and operate it before the wet season... We are hoping if it works, it is scalable and a venue for us to grow pretty rapidly. Land-based solar takes 6 to 8 months to build. Assuming the floating solar works, I would like to build expansion as early as 2020,” Yu said.
NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya said a hectare of solar field could produce one megawatt of power.
The government agency said if 200 of the 4,500 hectares of the Magat Dam reservoir would be will be used for water-based solar power, 200 MW will be generated and 200 hectares of agricultural lands could be saved.
Floating solar facilities have a number of other benefits according to studies. They safeguard the water levels in dams and reservoirs by preventing evaporation. Such facilities can also provide sanctuary for marine life that cannot survive in very hot temperatures.