AC Energy (ACEN) has begun operating its 120-megawatt (MW) GigaSol Alaminos solar farm in Laguna, the country’s second largest and the company’s second facility of its kind to open this year.
The Ayala-led firm said its new solar plant serves as a critical support to the needs of the Luzon Grid, which has experienced Red and Yellow Alerts over the past two months and is bracing for the possibility of more occurrences.
GigaSol Alaminos can generate sustainable energy for about 80,000 homes while avoiding 111,034.37 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MT CO2e) of greenhouse gases.
“We are pleased to add much needed capacity to the grid as electricity supply remains tight. AC Energy has already added 183MW of solar capacity to the grid earlier this year, and we also expect to start the operations of the 150MW Ingrid Power quick response thermal plant in Pililla, Rizal in the next few weeks,” AC Energy President and CEO Eric Francia said in a statement.
ACEN partnered with eco-bricks manufacturer Green Antz to pilot the circular approach in the GigaSol solar farm to incorporate sustainability in its strategy. A total of 32,540 kg of plastic collected from the solar panel packaging materials in the project construction site, the equivalent of about 25 compact size cars, have been diverted from landfills to be upcycled into eco-bricks and used in building facilities within the plant.
The facility also features a Tree Nursery, with a target to produce 120,000 seedlings in three years and is also surrounded by Ayala Land’s Carbon Forest, a woodland reserve that acts as a carbon trap and home to biodiversity.
Prior to Alaminos, ACEN opened its 63MW solar farm in Palauig, Zambales in April.
Francia added that AC Energy has another 276MW of renewables capacity under construction in the country, with plans to double the capacity before the year ends.
Other AC Energy renewable energy (RE) projects in the works amid the COVID-19 pandemic are its 40MW battery storage facility also in Alaminos; the 4MW Bataan RE Tech Hub; the 72MW Arayat-Mexico Solar in Pampanga, in partnership with Citicore Power; and the 160MW GigaWind project in Pagudpud, Ilocos Norte, the country’s biggest wind farm project to date.
“In further augmenting our generating capacity amidst the pandemic, we were able to build a solid platform from which we can continue our rapid renewables acceleration in the region, while also helping the country to ‘build back better,’” said AC Energy Chief Development Officer Jose Maria Zabaleta.
ACEN’s RE projects are part of its plan to build 5,000MW in renewables capacity by 2025 and become Southeast Asia’s largest listed RE firm.