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Solar PHL plans foray into India

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SOLAR PHILIPPINES Power Project Holdings, Inc. expects to seal a deal for its first solar energy project in India within the year.

“We are targeting in the neighborhood of 500 megawatts of PPAs signed in India within the next year. . . within the next 12 months,” Solar Philippines President Leandro L. Leviste told reporters.

“We’re prioritizing countries where there is a competitive selection process for power suppliers because we believe that is where we are most competitive,” he said, identifying India as one of these markets.

Mr. Leviste described India as now the world’s largest solar market after China, and might even take the lead because of the slowdown in the feed-in-tariff in China.

The company is participating in some bid processes this year in India. He said Solar Philippines is “aiming to have our first contracts signed within this year.”

“I’ll also note that one of the reasons why we’re bullish on India right is the government is imposing tariffs on Chinese and Malaysian solar panels,” he said.

He noted solar power rates in India are in the range of P2 to P3 per kilowatt-hour, although the capacity at stake is in thousands of megawatts. That range compares to the P2.34 per kWh offered by his company to distribution utility Manila Electric Co.

“In the last tenders of India, they awarded more than a thousand megawatts to just one company in one go. So we’re hopeful that by bringing the cost of solar energy down to India levels in the Philippines, we’ll be able to convince utilities and policy makers to unlock that same volume,” he said.

Every year, Mr. Leviste said India awards around 20,000 MW of solar energy as the country targets to have a solar capacity of 100,000 MW by 2022.

“By 2030, they’re going to be announcing a new target, which they say is going to be around 700,000 MW of solar. Obviously, even if we can just get just 1% of that, that’s very much, much bigger than what’s in the Philippines,” Mr. Leviste said.

For Solar Philippines, the target capacity in India is dependent on the number of contracts it signs in the Philippines as the balance of what has not been taken up of its solar panels will be filled by the foreign market.

Mr. Leviste said the company’s 500-MW initial target in India could be more “if the development of Philippine solar projects will not proceed as fast so that we can keep growing the pipeline beyond the Philippines.”

“That [target] could be less if with low prices in the Philippines, we can convince offtakers that solar is the way to go,” he added.

In the Philippines, the company has around 300 MW of solar energy, either operating or under construction, Mr. Leviste earlier said. He expects the number to reach 400 MW by yearend.

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