CEPALCO 1-MW Photovoltaic Power Plant

Satellite image of the CEPALCO 1-MW Photovoltaic Power Plant in Cagayan de Oro, Misamis Oriental.

Here’s something about the Philippines to be proud of. Did you know that the Philippines has the largest solar power plant in Southeast Asia? Can you guess where it is? It’s in Cagayan de Oro City, Misamis Oriental! The CEPALCO 1-MW Photovoltaic Power Plant is owned and operated by the Cagayan Electric Power & Light Company, Inc., which is one of the largest electricity distributors in the country and services Cagayan de Oro (CDO) and nearby municipalities.

The power plant, which generates 1.1 MW of power, is currently the 133rd largest solar power plant in the world (with ties) according to this list and puts the Philippines at number 9 among the countries in the world having the largest solar power plants! The Philippines is behind solar powerhouse Germany (who has 64 out of the top 100 largest solar power plants), Portugal, Spain, Japan, USA, Italy, the Netherlands, and South Korea. This also means that the power plant is also the largest among developing countries. Surprisingly, CEPALCO is being quite modest by not touting their record on their official website.

(Update, February 4, 2008: The power plant is currently bumped down to #217 and the Philippines is now #10 after Switzerland started operating its 1.3MW solar power plant in August 2007.)

The construction of the power plant, which was handled by Sumitomo Corp., started in August 2003 and was finished in April of the succeeding year. It consists of 6,480 Sharp ND-Q7E6Z photovoltaic modules and was designed to provide up to 1,500 MWh of electricity annually. (Source)

Some geekiness: if you count the rectangular “units” in the satellite image, you’ll see that there are 54 units. Divide that into 6,480 and you get 120 modules/unit. Hehehe. Also notice in the satellite image that, despite the oblique orientation of the power plant’s lot, the units are arranged east-to-west in order to maximize the sun’s light. (I have no proof for that last statement, but it’s easy to infer.)

Back in 2002, there was a plan to put up Sinag 1, in Palawan, which was to have been the world’s largest solar power plant back then at 6.67 MW. Apparently, this grandiose plan did not push through.

A note: While the plant’s 1.1 MW of solar power puts the Philippines among the top solar power producers, it pales in comparison to the 200-MW Agus 6 Hydroelectric Power Plant by the Maria Cristina Falls and 1,200-MW Sual Power Plant, which is the country’s largest coal-fired power-plant. Yes, solar electricity is really, really expensive and coal- and oil-based power is still cheap. Yet, is the the cost to the environment something we can really pay?

Here’s an album of ground level photographs of the CEPALCO Power Plant and a very, very informative news article about it from the Philippine Information Agency.

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Posted on
July 16, 2007
Filed under
Northern MindanaoPlants / Factories
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  1. gles wrote on February 18, 2010 @ 04:32AM

    can we avail of solar power here in iligan??

  2. Jay wrote on July 26, 2010 @ 08:59PM

    I think this information is a bit old.Since our company SMA SOLAR TECHNOLOGY AG which is based in Germany has a lot of Solar Power System Projects in Thailand,Singapore and Malaysia whick is a lot bigger than 1.1 MW. But someone inform me that we are going to have a 10MW Solar Power Plant in the Philippines.The date and the place were not disclosed to me.But Nevertheless, I hope I would be assigned in the Philippines when this starts.I want to be part of this project in my Homeland.

  3. Karen Aisha T. Blao wrote on July 28, 2010 @ 06:03PM

    Can we also avail that here in Labangan, Zamboanga del Sur? My husband is currently the Municipal Administrator of Labangan and electricity is one of the biggest problem here, Is it possible for us to tie up with CEPLACO? you can possibly reach me at my number 09176494411 or you can email me at karen.blao@gmail.com.


  4. SPV wrote on September 2, 2010 @ 12:22PM

    It’s true, CEPALCO’s 1MW Photovoltaic Power Plant is the largest so far in Asia. Largest Grid-connected PV Power Plant. The generated electricity is directly connected with CEPALCO’s distribution network.

  5. Joseph wrote on October 28, 2010 @ 05:05PM

    We have a new installed of 2.3MWp grid connected Solar Power Plant here in Jeddah KSA. I’m from Iligan City.
    It’s good to know that we have this PV system in our country, we can save tons of carbon emission per year.

  6. Roberto R. Martin wrote on November 26, 2010 @ 04:28PM

    CEPALCO PV power plant is just a beginning for the Philippines. Soon many enterprise will engaged in solar farm to harvest our solar energy potential. Our advantage is that we are in the tropics and we have lot of sunshine. The PV technology started here in the Philippines wat back 1980’s when the ZTE brought the technology thru the DOE Solar Energy Project. The first solar power plant in the Philippines was the Pulong Sampaloc 50 kW Off-grid plant using AEG and Siemens 50 Wp solar modules.

    A handful of Filipino engineers and technicians have been trained by the project and they are now leading in the development of the technology locally.

    Green Heat Corp. is a local company engaged in solar Off-Grid and Grid-tied Systems. We have a combined experience of 25 years in Solar PV and we offer offgrid and grid-tie customized system. We can be reached thru Tel. (02) 527 9045 or 09178869586

  7. Stilling wrote on November 3, 2011 @ 01:27AM

    Beautiful system. But how do you clean the panels when they are so close together that you cannot walk between the rows.

  8. leon escobal wrote on August 5, 2012 @ 11:37AM

    I want to know more about cepalco especially how much per kilowatt hour your selling the energy produced to the households

  9. onyok wrote on June 23, 2013 @ 04:38PM

    currently BIMP-EAGA consortium is planning to construct 10MW of solar power plant to cater ARMM region which likely be set up also in Cagayan de Oro , this will augment more reserve power for Mindanao areas and help alleviate poverty by charging less on electric usage whilst catering to a more industrialized Mindanao regions in the future.

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