PH’s solar energy capacity expected to double in 2013

Cherrie Regalado

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Philippine Solar Power Alliance says installed capacity of roof-top solar power will more than double before 2013 with ERC's approval of net metering rules

SUNNY. Advocates wear sunburst headdresses and pose next to a solar panel. File photo by AFP

MANILA, Philippines – Installed capacity of solar energy in the country is expected to reach 5 megawatts before yearend, more than double the current capacity of almost 2 megawatts, according to the Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA).

In a briefing on Monday, September 23, PSPA president Tetchi Cruz-Capellan predicted that more investments in solar rooftops will pour in given the Energy Regulatory Commissions’s (ERC) approval of net metering rules.

“From an industry perspective, net metering is opening a new phase for solar energy in the country,” Capellan noted.

Last July, the ERC approved net metering rules, which allow electricity end-users to engage in the distribution of renewable energy sources like solar, wind and biomass not exceeding 100 kilowatts.

Because solar rooftops are cheaper than traditional sources of energy, Capellan said demand for these is expected to increase as consumers and businesses want to save on energy costs.

“It’s basically driven by customers. We don’t know if the demand will be driven by developers or companies. But the sustainable driving force is the high cost of electricity,” she added.

Distribution and cost

Capellan however noted that access to the technology must be improved.

She stressed that market players must be able to massively and quickly deliver power from solar rooftops to distribution lines.

“This is a distribution game – of how fast system integrators and developers can get their components accessible to consumers,” Capellan said.

Aside from accessibility, she admitted that the industry is still working on lowering the cost of power generated using this technology.

READ: Renewable energy in PH affordable in long term — study

“For rooftop (cost) is $3 per kilowatt. The challenge is to lower that cost,” Capillan said.

Currently, the PSPA president said that her organization is working on lowering the cost through unbundling and possible tax exemptions.

“How to get that cost? We will try to unbundle and work on the VAT issues related to this.”

Renewable energy in PH

The country’s total electricity consumption reached 56.84 billion kilowatt-hour, with around 59% of the power generated coming from coal and oil-based power plants in 2010.

Renewable energy, mainly geothermal and hydro, accounted for about 28% of total power generation.

READ: Renewable energy use gaining worldwide – IEA

Solar energy’s contribution in power generation has been minimal.

The Department of Energy, however, expects solar, biomass and wind to be among the major sources of energy in the next 10 years, accounting for more than 1/3 of total energy demand in the country. –

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