The 'world’s largest' solar power+storage project will displace 1.4M tons of coal

It'll have 3,500 megawatts of solar panels.
Derya Ozdemir
Aerial image of a large solar panel farm.grandriver/iStock

The Philippines’ second-richest person, Enrique Razon, is on his way to building "the world’s largest" solar power facility with 2,500 to 3,500 megawatts of solar panels and 4,000 to 4,500 megawatt-hours of battery storage.

This will offer enough clean power to prevent burning the equivalent of 1.4 million tons of coal each year, thereby increasing the country's supply of renewable energy, according to a press release.

A giant solar panel array in the Philippines

Terra Solar Philippines, a unit of Terra Renewables Holdings, Inc., a renewable power subsidiary under billionaire Enrique Razon's Prime Infrastructure Holdings, Inc., will undertake the project in collaboration with Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings, Inc.

Prime Infra said in a statement released Wednesday that the planned facility will supply 850 megawatts to Manila Electric Co., the Philippines' largest power retailer, which distributes electricity in the capital and surrounding areas.

To put this into context, that's equivalent to what some nuclear power plants offer. The project will ensure its power is fully available during hours of peak demand, and the electricity generated will be enough to replace 1.4 million tons of coal or 930,000 liters of oil every year, according to computation made by Terra Solar.

And, with Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings helping construct the solar section, the project is slated to be completed in two stages in 2026 and 2027. However, a proposed location or cost haven't yet been made available in the statement. 

Making renewable energy dependable

Overall, the statement describes the Terra Solar project as "a model of dependable renewable energy, which represents a stable price not subject to fuel imports volatility for the rest of its 20-year contract." The project combines cheap photovoltaic panels with energy storage to get rid of renewable power's battery problem. 

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From 2026 to 2046, the project is expected to reduce the country's greenhouse gas emissions and import dependency. This is significant because, despite the fact the Philippines currently gets roughly 57 percent of its electricity from coal, burning the equivalent of 29 million tons of high-quality fuel, according to Bloomberg, the country has one of the most aggressive renewable energy policies in its region.

In addition to the progress made since the 2008 Renewable Energy Act, the year 2020 was a watershed moment made possible by landmark measures such as the Coal Moratorium and the Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS), which encouraged investment in renewables, the press release explains.

Today, renewables currently account for 29.1 percent of installed capacity in the Philippines and will surely be increased with the help of solar energy, which is further supported by the fact the countryis  building the world’s largest solar power facility. Meanwhile, the world is on a similar path, with the world's largest solar-powered steam plant being built in Saudi Arabia.

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