By Gerry Albert Corpuz
MANILA, Philippines- A progressive lawmaker of Philippine Congress on Saturday said the government can make use of 1 million solar roofs to combat incessant and seemingly unstoppable increases in electricty bill of every ordinary Filipino.
In a phone interview with all voices, Bayan Muna (People First) party list Rep. Teddy Casino said House Bill 5405 or the proposed One Million Solar Roofs Act , which the congressman authored, would stop the unbridled spikes in power cost all over the archipelago.
Casino issued the statement on the same day the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) announced another increase in its generation charge by 28 centavos per kilowatt hour this month.
This is on top of the previous hikes on the price of electricity due to higher generation costs, universal charges and currency exchange rate adjustments.
The Bayan Muna solon appealed to his colleagues in Congress to fast track the bill which provides incentives and financing facilities to ordinary electricity consumers like residences, offices and small to medium business establishments who want to put up their own solar power systems.
The Casino solar power bill also allow homeowners and entrepreneurs to take out loans from Pag-Ibig, GSIS, SSS and other financial institutions to purchase solar panels and pay the amount from the ensuing savings in their electricity bills.
“With the putting up of more solar power roofs, power demand from traditional sources would drop and thus would most likely push rates down,” he added.
"Our bill also allows these solar powered households and small firms to feed in their unused power to the grid during peak midday hours at a cost cheaper than existing diesel peaking plants. In the National Capital Region (NCR), some peaking plants sell at as high as P30/kWh while solar can come in at half that price," Casiño revealed.
He said the amount sold by the solar power producer can be offset from their monthly electricity bills via the net metering mechanism as proposed in the bill.
"In this way, we hit three birds with one stone - we build additional supply of power; liberate ourselves from expensive, dirty and imported fossil fuels; and develop the local renewable energy industry. It is really the way to go," he said.
According to the lawmaker, “Government should think out of the box and go beyond the big developer mentality in dealing with the power crisis. Solar power technology now allows electricity consumers to be producers themselves.
“Solar technology can be an immediate and sustainable way to deal with the country’s energy problems, especially with the abundance of solar energy throughout the country and the modular nature of solar energy systems,” said the progressive solon.
“Besides the country being second in Southeast Asia in terms of irradiation and insolation, we already have the foundation to become a renewable energy leader in the region owing to the strong semi-conductor industry and the manpower base serving in the manufacturing and service sectors, especially the installers sub-sector,” he added.
“With government harnessing the solar resources of the country and providing for incentives for massive deployment of solar energy systems, the prospects of attaining energy independence from oil companies and significantly lowering electricity prices in the medium-term are realizable,” said Casiño.