ACEN eyes company first with 1 GW floating solar project


Philippines-headquartered developer ACEN Corporation has signed a renewable energy use agreement with the Laguna Lake Development Authority (LLDA) to lease 800 hectares of water surface area at the freshwater lake, southeast of the national capital Manila.

“The agreement marks a pivotal step toward the development of a groundbreaking large-scale floating solar project,” ACEN said. “This signifies a notable milestone as the company explores and integrates new technologies into its renewable energy portfolio.”

ACEN President and Chief Executive Officer John Eric Francia told local media the project is still in the pre-development stage but is expected to be completed within two to three years.

“We still have a lot of work to do ahead of us,” he said. “We’re still in the process of the pre-development stage so we have to work on the permitting, we need to work on the grid connection.”

“We have to talk to suppliers because this is the first time we’ll be doing floating solar. Obviously, there will be some differences compared to ground-mounted solar.”

ACEN, which is behind the 720 MW New England and 400 MW Stubbo solar farms being constructed in New South Wales and has partnered with traditional owners to develop more than 3 GW of wind, solar and battery storage in Western Australia, has already applied for solar energy operating contracts with the Philippines’ Department of Energy for the 800ha Laguna Lake area.

Francia said large-scale floating solar projects shape as a “crucial part of ACEN’s master plan” which includes establishing a 20 GW portfolio of renewable energy projects by 2030.

“We are committed to expanding our clean energy assets while addressing land scarcity,” he said.

Laguna Lake is the largest freshwater lake in the Philippines and is close to load centres, being bordered by the growing cities of Calamba, Sta. Rosa and Cabuyao, and the towns of Bay and Victoria.

The 800ha of water surface area granted to ACEN is part of 2,000ha that the LLDA had auctioned off in the southern and eastern areas on Laguna Lake for the development of floating solar projects.

Other winning bidders include Singapore-based Vena Energy and local solar power developer SunAsia Energy which will team with Macquarie portfolio company Blueleaf Energy to develop a 1.3 GW floating solar project on the lake.

SunAsia has secured 1,000ha for its project while Vena Energy will get 200ha with the company planning to deploy about 270 MW of floating solar.

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