IT was a harvest like no other: Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation (CREC) on Friday (March 24) conducted a ceremonial harvest in Brgy. Dalayap, Tarlac City, as part of its pioneering Agrosolar initiative, showing off deep green leaves of pechay Tagalog while sending this message: solar power generation does not displace agriculture.
CREC President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Oliver Y. Tan, in his message, said Citicore’s AgroSolar remains to be an essential complement to the company’s operations, integrating solar power generation, and farming.
“For this year, we have identified pechay as the focused crop to support the farmers from Tarlac, which has long been recognized as one of the major producers of pechay,” Tan said.
The pechay crops, which were planted and grown alongside the solar panels at the Citicore Solar (CS) Tarlac 2, will be harvested in two cycles.
“This summer, we will be harvesting an additional 4,000 to 5,000 kilograms of pechay, which brings our total yield to about 8,500 kilograms of crops,” he added.
Since 2021, CREC harvested at least 3,735 kilograms of crops such as turmeric, arugula, and French beans, and provided livelihood to at least 45 partner-farmers and local off-takers.
Farmers will benefit from profit-sharing at 25-40 percent, while local off-takers will be able purchase these crops at a price that allows for a profitable margin at 30-50 percent.
In his speech, Tarlac City Vice Mayor Genaro Mendoza said Citicore’s Agrosolar initiative, proves that solar power generation does not displace agriculture. “Napatunayan natin, pwede pala pagsamahin ang solar at pagtatanim. Hindi pala totoo na kalaban ng agrikultura and solar power. Sana, lahat ng solar power companies gawin ito [We’ve proven that solar and farming can go together. It’s not true that solar power is the enemy of agriculture. I hope all solar power companies will follow this lead],” Mendoza said.
Meanwhile, Councilor Katrina Angeles said Agriculture contributes to 80 percent of livelihood in Tarlac City. Speaking partly in Filipino, she said, “Tarlac’s progress runs alongside the entry of big businesses like Solar Power generation. That is why we are happy that Citicore, through Agrosolar, has not forgotten our farmers.”
In an interview, Fiona Nicolas, CREC Head of Corporate Affairs and Foundation, said Citicore enjoins Solar Power companies to follow suit.
“We are blessed with vast areas of land. Imagine the contribution we can do to job generation in our host communities, to food production and to food security in our country. We can surely make a difference,” Nicolas told reporters in the Agrosolar Ceremonial harvest.
CREC, through the Citicore Foundation, will use proceeds of the sales of these crops for its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) projects such as echo sheds, tree planting, and flood mitigation activities, and USBONG scholarship grants.
Image credits: Nonoy Lacza