Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Solar PHL to lease solar panels to boost use in business, households

By Lenie Lectura - April 6, 2017

IN a bid to make solar panels affordable and more accessible to Filipinos, Solar Philippines is now offering these panels at zero up-front cost, via a lease rate less the electricity savings.

While the company has already implemented similar schemes for mall chains like SM, this marks the first time in the country that “solar leasing” will be available even for households and small businesses.

Solar Philippines said this would enable Filipinos to save between 20 percent and 30 percent on electricity at no cost. The company will initially target Manila, Cebu, Davao, Iloilo, Bacolod, Palawan, Mindoro and other cities with the most expensive electricity.

“While some people want to save Planet Earth, everyone wants to save on electricity, and we hope this new model can bring solar panels from 1 percent of rooftops to 100 percent in a few years,” Solar Philippines President Leandro Leviste said. “Given this, we are extending our financing and technology to any groups and individuals who wish to partner with us in marketing ‘solar leasing’ in their area.”

Solar Philippines has long advocated for lowering the cost of solar power in the Philippines via vertical integration. Last month it opened the first solar-panel factory. The company is now working on convincing utilities across the Philippines to shift to solar, but notes the challenges of introducing new technology to a highly traditional society.

“Utilities continue to sign up with expensive coal, gas and diesel, despite the fact that solar is already cheaper,” Leviste said. “It may be more practical for solar farms with batteries to supply the utilities, who supply consumers. But until utilities divorce fossil fuel, going direct to consumers is a necessary step. We hope that, when they see millions of Filipinos choosing solar over fossil fuel, they, too, will shift to cost-saving renewable energy [RE],” Leviste said.

The promotion of renewable energy and reduction of electricity rates are both central to the Electric Power Industry Reform Act of 2001. The Renewable Energy Act of 2008 also supports the empowerment of consumers to choose RE in meeting their energy requirements.

Solar Philippines, which aims to make the Philippines a global leader in solar power, has completed the Calatagan Solar Farm and projects with SM and Robinsons Malls. It plans to complete this year over 300 megawatts of solar farms in Tarlac, Batangas and Cavite.

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