Digos solar plant seeks FIT perks to avoid closure

Digos solar plant seeks FIT perks to avoid closure

Alterpower Digos Solar Inc. (ADSI), which is the corporate vehicle of a recently acquired 28.59-megawatt Digos solar facility of Romero-owned Fort Pilar Energy Inc., is seeking regulatory approval on its bid to corner feed-in-tariff (FIT) incentives, to serve as its last resort to avoid plant shutdown due to financial losses.

“ADSI is now on the brink of shutting down its plant as it could no longer cover expenses for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of the Digos solar power plant,” the company has stipulated in its filing with the Energy Regulatory Commission.

The applicant-firm noted that the unclaimed actual cost recovery rate (ACRR) on its FIT incentives already summed up to P342.735 million as of end-December 2020, plus corresponding late payment interest rates.

“ADSI’s application to participate in the FIT system is its last resort to avert total shutdown of the Digos solar plant. This lifeline is indispensable for its continued existence,” the solar firm said.

The company added that based on its audited financial statements, it has been posting losses since the start of its commercial operations on the scale of: P131.692 million in 2016; P304.270 million in 2017; P277.915 million in 2018; and P287.115 million in 2019.

“ADSI’s operations have been dismal and in the red right from the start,” the power firm stressed. The facility was acquired by the Romero group from the joint venture of Alterpower Specialist Inc., a company affiliated with businessman Alberto Espiritu; and Hanwha Global Asset Corporation of the Hanwha Group of South Korea.

In line with ADSI’s plea, the ERC is scheduling public hearings on Feb. 4 and 11 this year to deliberate on the company’s FIT application. The regulatory processes will also touch on determining the applicant-firm’s compliance with jurisdictional requirements, expository presentation, pre-trial conference and presentation of evidence.

ADSI stated that it is entitled to FIT incentives because the power plant’s completion and commercial operation had been declared on March 6, 2016, which was ahead of the March 15, 2016 deadline set by the Department of Energy (DOE) for the facilities to be included in the incentive scheme.

Since the solar plant has been lined up in the second wave of subsidy-underpinned installations, it will be entitled to a FIT rate of P8.69 per kilowatt hour (kWh) for a period of 20 years.

The Romero-owned firm emphasized that if it will not be allowed to recoup FIT incentives, the solar power facility is in danger of ceasing operations because of the massive losses it has been incurring since the kick-off of its commercial operations in 2016.