Higher GEAR price for floating solar sought

floating solar 2

Members of the Philippine Solar and Storage Energy Alliance (PSSEA) are requesting approval for an increased Green Energy Auction Reserve (GEAR) price for floating solar, with a proposed rate of at least Php 7.30 per kilowatt hour (kWh).

In a Manila Bulletin report, the higher proposed GEAR price is targeting the tendering process on June 19. This adjustment aims to accommodate the potential inclusion of floating solar in the Department of Energy (DOE) auction.

PSSEA Chairperson Tetchi Cruz-Capellan has formally submitted a position paper to the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) requesting a Php 7.3361 per kWh GEAR price for floating solar. This proposed price is in contrast to the original GEAR price of Php 4.7565 set for the second round of the Green Energy Auction (GEA-2), which is scheduled to take place next month.

While the ERC determines the GEAR price, the auction for renewable energy (RE) capacities under the GEA is conducted by the DOE.

They further argued that the construction and operations of floating solar PV systems on water would incur additional costs, estimated to be at least 20% higher compared to traditional solar PV installations. These additional expenses include the installation of anchoring and mooring systems, as well as the deployment of floats. Moreover, the transportation of the floaters to the plant site would require the use of barges and water vessels to reach the plant site. These factors should be duly considered when determining the tariff-setting under GEAR.

In their previous comment submitted to the ERC last year, the PSSEA disclosed that they had initially proposed a price increase of Php 8.86 per kWh, as computed by commercial entities. Additionally, sector players are considering three types of installations: high-density polyethylene (HDPE)-mounted floating solar PV in water, membrane-mounted solar, and solar PV panels fixed on concrete piles.

Furthermore, the group is advocating for the elimination of the Solar Energy Service Contract (SESC) as one of the requirements for solar developers. 

The group noted that under the current rules, only solar developers with SESC are eligible to participate in GEAP, adding that  DOE has already halted the issuance of service contracts and intends to issue operating contracts to solar developers instead.