Taiwan firm offers 20-year PPA for public hospital

The Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. board is considering a 20-year power purchase agreement with a Taiwan-based company to lower the public hospital’s utility costs.

Saipan Tribune learned that the CHCC board approved two years ago a purchase power deal for Taiwan-based DSTech to install solar panels in the vicinity of the hospital. But for unclear reasons, this agreement didn’t materialize.

This time, the CHCC board is interested in pushing this “stalled agreement” and allowed the same company to bring the proposal back to the table.

Herman P. Sablan, DSTech’s local representative, disclosed during Tuesday’s meeting that the company remains committed to helping the CHCC, especially in this time of financial distress coupled with its unpaid obligations to the Commonwealth Utilities Corp.

He said the “pre-approved” PPA would save CHCC an estimated $90,000 a month. Based on the proposal, the 20-year PPA will cost CHCC a monthly payment of about $230,000.

“We offer 23 cents per kWh. Two years ago, the demand at CHCC was between 1.5MW and 1.8MW. This demand had increased significantly to about 2.5MW at present. From monthly billing then of $230,000, the cost also increased to $539,000 at present. So I think the situation has gotten worse here…and this company wants to help,” Sablan told the board.

DSTEch, it was learned, earlier proposed to put in place solar panels that will produce 5MW, about 30 percent of the hospital’s power demand. The proposed 23 cents per kWh, Sablan said, is below the average cost to install and operate solar energy in the mainland, which is between 27 cents to 29 cents per kWh.

CHCC vice chair Pete dela Cruz said the project is worthy of board review. However, he pointed out that if in case it is approved, all procurement regulations will be adhered to including issuing RFPs and quotations.

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Moneth G. Deposa | Reporter

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