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Firm buys into Leyte solar power project

As published on MalayaBusinessInsight

MRC Allied Inc. has acquired a 15 percent stake in a Leyte solar project, to add to its current portfolio of renewable energy. Gladys Nalda, MRC Allied president, said the company acquired a stake in the 50-megawatt (MW) Sulu Electric Power and Light Philippines Inc. (Sepalco) Solar Project in Palo, Leyte.

Touted as the biggest solar project in Eastern Visayas, the Sepalco Solar Project has been operating since 2016. “This will complete MRC Allied’s 200MW target for 2017 and since it’s an operational plant, we shall take an active role in the management of the power plant,” Nalda said. Sepalco, which lies on a 70-hectare property in Palo, has a total of 188 solar panels and is connected to the existing 69-kilovolt transmission line of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) in the province. “The solar project is designed for 25 years, boosting its potential as a major solar provider in the country in the coming years,” Nalda said. Nalda noted MRC’s acquisition in Sepalco “marks one of the many investments the company has lined up” as it continuously diversifies into the energy sector. Shareholders approved on Wednesday’s shareholders meeting the change in MRC’s primary purpose to a 100 percent energy company from previously a property company. Shareholders also approved the increase in the number of board directors to nine from seven. “We currently have seven directors and since we have to ensure that we beef up the team with industry experts and a bigger team, we shall increase the number of directors to nine from seven. This is to ensure that we strengthen our corporate governance and improve our corporate structure.” Naldasaid. The reclassification allows MRC “to develop, design, construct, operate, maintain, buy, acquire, sell, import and export renewable and clean energy equipment, systems, power plants and technologies that produce electricity from renewable and clean energy resources such as, but not limited to, solar, wind, hydro, geothermal, biomass, liquefied natural gas, and other clean and renewable energy sources.” “As a diversified company, MRC has also been strengthening its structure. It has taken in former Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla and former National Electrification Administration (NEA) administrator Edita Bueno as new members of its board of directors,” the company said in a statement. MRC Allied earlier said it looks to bring its renewable energy portfolio to 1,000MW in the next five years while working to spin-off its real estate and mining ventures. The company plans to invest P80 billion to P100 billion for its power venture, with a potential to generate P3.9 billion in profit, while its property and mining ventures is prepared for a possible listing by introduction in the stock market. Last June, MRC announced it has a combined 160MW-capacity solar power harvesting project in the pipeline worth P8.8 billion that will rise in Naga City in Cebu and in Clark Green City in Clark Freeport Zone, Pampanga. The 60MW Naga project enjoys a supply contract that can either supply power to the Visayas grid or offer its output to large power consumers within and around Southern Cebu. This project is expandable by another 60MW. The 100MW Clark project is covered by a power supply agreement with the Clark Development Authority to supply electricity to the locators in Clark Green City and will be connected to the NGCP’s transmission. This project is expandable by 40MW while still in its pre-development stage. The company expects the projects to be operational by 2019, with potential profit of P690 million starting that year and a “five to six years” payback period, Nalda said. Naldaadded the company looks to bring its power portfolio to 200MW by the end of the year and raise it by 200MW more every year until it reaches 1,000MW by 2022. Nalda, formerly vice president for legal and corporate services at PNOC Renewables Corp., said MRC is looking at taking over existing solar power facilities to expand its solar power portfolio to 500MW, while adding other renewable power sources like wind, geothermal, hydro, ocean power and liquefied natural gas to form the other half.

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