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Dumaguete City, PhilippinesSaturday, May 12, 2012
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Solar-powered plants
eyed in agrarian areas

The Department of Agrarian Reform will offer a rental package to agrarian reform beneficiaries, who are willing to lease out their farms in areas where solar-powered plants will be built as part of the government's effort to provide cheaper and cleaner electricity, its press release said.

This was after Secretary Gil de los Reyes, of DAR, and the Sunconnex Solar Powered Agri-Rural Communities Corp. signed the memorandum of agreement on the program at the DAR central office recently.

The government is looking for at least 50 sites all over the country to establish the solar-powered plants as provided for in the MOA. This is an opportunity for ARBs to earn extra income by leasing out portions of their farms for the setting up of solar-powered plants with a generating capacity of 5-10 megawatts each, the press release said.

Sparc will enter into a long-term lease contract with ARBs for the use of the land over 20 years, with rentals to be paid directly to them, with the farmers' cooperative getting a small percentage of the lease cost, the DAR said in the press release, adding that the program will not just benefit the farmer-beneficiaries but the country as well in the form of clean energy from solar power.

To qualify as site for the solar-powered plants, the ARB area should have a minimum of five hectares of open space, generally flat, unproductive, non-irrigated, and not more than five kilometers from the nearest electrical substation with a 69-kilovolt transmission line, the press release said.

The program was initiated under the convergence initiative between DAR, the Department of Agriculture and Department of Environment and Natural Resources, with the SC-Sparc. The company is a joint venture between Filipino investors and the Sunconnex group of companies from The Netherlands with experience in the solar power business in Europe and North America, the press release added.*



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