NIA, New Canaan Energy partner for solar-powered irrigation

THE National Irrigation Administration (NIA) and New Canaan Energy Resources Corp. have partnered for the development of a solar-powered irrigation system in the country.

“[The partnership] initiates a full-blown study to determine its financial, socioeconomic, and technical viabilities as well as the most cost-effective development, construction, and operation of the power generation component in the project,” NIA said on Tuesday.

NIA Acting Administrator engineer Eddie Guillen and New Canaan Energy President Alfonso Gillego led the signing of the memorandum of understanding (MoU) on the development of a canal-top solar power system in the NIA Agno River Integrated Irrigation System in Rosales, Pangasinan.

The agency said the partnership also aims to develop solar farms for utility-size power generation by utilizing the canal top and in an area with the potential to provide sustainable operations in the Agno River Integrated Irrigation System.

The Agno River Integrated Irrigation System in the Ilocos Region (Region 1) has a service area of 18,162 hectares.

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A total of 101 irrigators’ associations and 24,298 farmers and their families are set to benefit from the said project, NIA said.

An agency under the Department of Agriculture, NIA aims to utilize the full potential of its irrigation systems as multipurpose water resources across the Philippines.

It aims to provide irrigation systems for power generation, flood control, domestic water supply, agro-tourism, and aquaculture.

On November 6, NIA announced the construction of a P1.9-billion dam in Central Luzon (Region 3) that will also address multiple challenges in the region, from flooding to aquaculture development.

The agency has partnered with Ferdstar Builders Contractors and China International Water and Electric Corp. for the construction of the Bayabas Rockfill Dam that will serve 17 municipalities in Bulacan and four in Pampanga.

Guillen said NIA has a total budget of P40 billion this year, adding that they are proposing a P135-billion budget for 2024 to accelerate the establishment of irrigation facilities nationwide.