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Aquino opens solar farm in Batangas

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BATANGAS CITY – A massive solar farm has been built in Batangas to provide additional clean power supply in the western part of the province.

Showing support for development of green energy in the country, President Aquino led the inauguration of the new 63.3-megawatt solar plant built by Solar Philippines in Calatagan, Batangas.

The Calatagan Solar Farm, reportedly amounting to $120 million, is considered the largest solar farm in Luzon. The facility collects heat from the Sun and generates power using over 200,000 panels on a 160-hectare property.

Aquino, accompanied by Solar Philippines president Leandro Legarda Leviste, pulled a mock switch lever to signal the opening of the new solar farm. The Chief Executive no longer delivered any speech.

“What I hope more Filipinos will realize is that because of President Aquino’s visionary leadership, we have crossed the point of no return in our country’s shift away from fossil fuel. For many years, the conventional wisdom was that solar was only a marginal share of the energy mix,” Leviste said in his remarks.

Before Aquino assumed office, Leviste observed that the country only had less than two megawatts installed solar capacity.

But as a result of the government’s renewable energy programs, he said solar capacity has surpassed the 500-megawatt target set by the Department of Energy over a year ago.

“Because of your programs Mr. President, the local solar industry has gained economies a scale and has begun to develop efficiencies to decrease the cost of solar power,” he said.

Leviste also predicted the establishment of more solar farms with the cost of such clean power becoming more affordable. He noted that solar is cheaper that diesel and natural gas and soon enough will be cheaper than coal.

“When that day comes Mr. President, solar farms will sprout across the country to supply Filipinos with cleaner and cheaper power, decommissioning old fossil fuel burning plants, and we will remember it was under your administration when this all began and all of us here today will be able to look back with nostalgia and tell the story of how pioneering projects like the Calatagan Solar Farm came to be,” he said.