NIA ventures into floating solar power
Louise Maureen Simeon (The Philippine Star) - June 14, 2018 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines — The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) has opened its doors for floating solar power in its dams and reservoirs as it aims to increase power production and save agricultural lands.

NIA administrator Ricardo Visaya said the  study showed that water-based solar power projects would be more beneficial than land-based which converts large portion of agricultural lands into solar plants, making irrigable farmlands smaller.

“This results to the decrease in food production and poses a threat to the country’s food security. It also defeats NIA’s purpose of constructing and developing more irrigation systems in the country to ensure rice self-sufficiency,” Visaya said.

“Instead of indulging into land-based solar project, NIA offers its dams and reservoirs for the water-based project which can achieve the same purpose of increasing power production while saving agricultural lands,” he added.

A hectare of solar field can produce one megawatt (MW) of power. Magat Dam has a reservoir of 4,500 hectares and if 200 of which will be utilized for water-based solar power, 200 MW will be generated and 200 hectares of agricultural lands will be saved.

SN Aboitiz Power Group has already proposed a water-based solar power project in Magat Dam in Isabela which features solar panels fixed to float on the water surface.

The company will conduct a 2,500-square meter pilot project over the Magat reservoir, a small-scale preliminary study prior to the performance of the large-scale project.

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