CLARK FREEPORT—The town of Concepcion in Tarlac could become the “renewable-energy hub” of the Philippines.
Concepcion Mayor Andy Lacson said here on Friday that barring negative developments, the planned solar farms in his town could jointly add 140 megawatts (MW) to the national grid once they become operational next year. Solar Philippines and Infinity Solar were among the four multinational groups cited by Lacson that are now constructing solar farms with a power-generating capacity of 45 MW to 50 MW.
Solar has acquired a 50-hectare property in Barangay Santa Rosa, while Infinity has acquired a 45-hectare property also in the same village extending to Barangay Murcia. German solar giant Conergy Group, one of the world’s largest suppliers of photovoltaic (PV) energy, has also been tapped to build the 50-MW Tarlac Solar Power Project on a 55-hectare property near Hacienda Luisita, Lacson said in the media forum “Balitaan” organized by the Capampangan in Media Inc., in cooperation with the Clark Development Corp. and Social Security System, at the Bale Balita here last Friday.
Concepcion, Lacson said, has attracted a good number of prospective investors in solar farms due to its unique topography (flatland), making it an ideal and suitable location for the high-tech facility to harness the sun’s energy to generate electricity.
Once operational, the solar farms could generate an annual P20 million in additional revenues for Concepcion, the mayor said.
Lacson said that by next year, they are keen on promoting the town as the renewable energy hub of the Philippines. He said by March 2016, the solar companies will have to begin their operation or the benefit that they will receive from the Department of Energy will be lost.
“So they have until the first quarter of next year to begin their operation,” he said.
Concepcion, the birthplace of martyred Sen. Benigno “Ninoy” Aquino, has a current income averaging a little over P200 million annually, including its internal revenue allotment (IRA).
Lacson said the upcoming solar farms could bolster Concepcion’s bid to attract more entrepreneurs engaged in such industries as food manufacturing, merchandising, tourism, banking and other service-oriented enterprises.
The town’s current main source of income and livelihood is farming and small-scale food processing, like its famous carabeef tocino.
But Lacson said this would change in the next three to six years given the growing attraction of Concepcion as an investment area. In the same forum, the youthful town executive also discussed the town’s financial resources at the end of the first half of the year with a cash of P140 million, of which P110 million is accounted by the general fund.
Lacson said the available cash could easily finance the town’s second-half infrastructure projects like farm-to-market roads in barangays Santiago, Café, Culatingan, Pando, Parulung, Panlicsian and Talimunduk Marimla; 20 units of public toilets with water pumps; installation of LED lampposts in the 45 barangays and traffic lights in six barangays; new slaughterhouse; grant of P300,000 project fund for the 45 barangays; purchase of lot for the municipal cemetery; and the construction of a closed-circuit television central monitoring facility, as well as a new motor pool.
Lacson said the town will re-commemorate the Ninoy Aquino statue at the municipal hall this coming August 21.
The late President Cory Aquino built the statue at the start of her term in honor of her martyred husband. The event is expected to be attended by the late senator’s family. Concepcion is a first-class urban municipality in Tarlac with a population of 140,000.