BP Solar Spain awarded large Spanish-funded project in
BP Solar Spain has won a bid in the Philippines to oversee
what one spokesman is describing as the largest off-grid project ever awarded.
The deal, which was to be finalized at the end of March, is
being supported by a $48 million USD soft loan from the Spanish government. The
project, known as Solar Power Technology Support to Agrarian Reform Communities
(SPOTS), calls for the installation of 2 MW of PV in 100 villages following a
major on-site inspection phase by special teams that will assess communities'
social and technical needs. The bid, opened to Spanish PV companies last May by
the Philippine Department of Agrarian Reform (DAR), was awarded to BP Solar
Spain in November.
SPOTS will be carried out in two phases. The first, scheduled
from next September to March 2003, will receive $25 million in funding. If DAR
is pleased with the work, BP Solar Spain will be reselected as the default
company for the second phase, which will have $23 million available. The money
from Spain is being termed a mixed-credit soft loan. Half of the money will be
loaned under the credit conditions of the Organization for Economic Cooperation
and Development (OECD) as a 10-year loan with a six-month grace period and
interest rates just below market levels. The other half is from the Spanish
Development Aid Fund (FAD): a 30-year loan with a 10-year grace period, which BP
Solar Spain's Ignacio Hualde estimates would have interest rates of less than 1
percent. »These conditions make the loan almost a grant,« he says.
All of the PV cells and modules will be produced at
the BP Solar Spain plant in Madrid, says Hualde, with Saturn 85 W
modules being used for the project. One third of the project will be
concerned with the »software,« as Hualde puts it, including training,
social development, and organizational materials. »We will use our
expertise not only to fulfill the technical side of the project, but
also the social aspects.« He says BP Solar Spain will hire
subcontractors to help carry out the on-site inspections that will
determine what kind of PV installations would be best suited to the
communities' needs. SPOTS calls for BP Solar Spain to look at using PV
for micro factories, schools, refrigeration for health clinics, street
lighting, water pumps for irrigation and potable water, house lighting,
and community buildings.
© PHOTON International, March 2001