Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation marries agriculture and power generation with AgroSolar project
The initiative ensures small-scale farmers are nurtured and supported amidst the race for sustainable energy.
Whilst most of the solar power plants in the country were built on unirrigated farmlands and were converted from agricultural to industrial use for solar power generation, pure renewable energy developer Citicore Renewable Energy Corporation (CREC) recognises that the Philippines is blessed with lands that are fertile for vegetation due to its nature as an agricultural country.
Presented with this opportunity, CREC examined the possibility of planting crops in between and beneath the highest points of the solar panel structures. This led the company to start the AgroSolar initiative in its Luzon solar power plant facilities, a move that aims to support small farm growers and eventually help in food production within the communities of the company’s solar farms.
Eventually, the provincial host communities of CREC’s renewable energy projects need support in terms of livelihood, capacity-building and generating more sources of income streams. This is why CREC upscaled and brought the AgroSolar project to all its solar facilities within the country.
The corporation’s goal for pioneering this initiative is to ensure that farmers are not displaced by the race for renewable energy, but rather be nurtured and supported, as they remain integral to the country’s economic growth and sustainable development.
In its first successful harvest last summer, the AgroSolar project yielded more than 5,000 kilograms of napa cabbage, locally known as “pechay,” in CREC’s Dalayap Solar Power plant alone. Since 2021, the Dalayap power plant has also yielded about 7,500 kilograms of other high-value crops like turmeric, French beans, and arugula. To date, other crops like eggplant, varieties of chilli, potatoes, and tomatoes are also being tested for planting in CREC’s other solar plants.
Moreover, this initiative proved helpful for small farm growers in CREC’s host communities in continuing their livelihoods even after the land conversion. Partner farmers benefit from profit-sharing, whilst local off-takers can purchase these crops at a farm-gate price that allows for a profitable margin.
CREC also aims to use the proceeds of the sales for its corporate social responsibility projects such as echo sheds, tree planting, flood mitigation activities, solar street-lighting initiatives, and scholarship grants.
This innovative approach has been lauded at the Asian Power Awards, with CREC bringing home the win in the ESG Programme of the Year - Philippines category.
The prestigious awards programme, now in its 19th year, celebrates and honours companies and projects that have taken innovative and game-changing steps to address the effects of the climate crisis and meet the growing demand for energy.
The Asian Power Awards is presented by Asian Power Magazine. To view the full list of winners, click here. If you want to join the 2024 awards programme and be acclaimed for your company's revolutionary innovations and initiatives in the power industry in Asia, please contact Julie Anne Nuñez at [email protected].