NIA Central Office – The National Irrigation Administration (NIA) ventures to floating solar power project on its dams and reservoirs as the SN Aboitiz Power Group has already proposed a water-based solar power project in Magat Dam in Isabela which features solar panels fixed to floats on the water surface.
Such power group 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. The floating solar power project size is yet to be decided after the study.
The result of NIA’s research shows that this water-based solar power project is more beneficial than the land-based one 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. Instead of indulging into land-based solar project, NIA thus offers its dams and reservoirs for the water-based project which can achieve the same purpose of increasing power production while saving agricultural lands.
NIA Administrator Ricardo R. Visaya said that one hectare of solar field can produce one megawatt (MW). For instance, in Magat Dam with a reservoir of 4,500 hectares, if 200 hectares will be utilized for water-based solar power, 200 MW will be generated and 200 hectares of agricultural lands will be saved.
Moreover, the project can also be beneficial by providing additional income to the government. It can also prevent the decrease of the water level in the dams and reservoirs due to evaporation. It can likewise provide sanctuary for marine life as it prevents fishes and other species from dying due to hot temperature.
Interestingly, this could also be a tourism promotion for NIA’s dams and reservoirs as the solar power plant will be located in an array of panels affixed to a flotation mechanism above the water surface.
Aside from Magat Dam, there are still other big dams in the country which can also be installed with floating solar power plant, such as the Pantabangan Dam and Casecnan Dam in Nueva Ecija.
**For questions and/or clarifications, you may contact:
PILIPINA P. BERMUDEZ
Department Manager A
NIA Public Affairs and Information Staff
Mobile: 0995 251 7847