With the country hit back and forth with super typhoons that just seem so endless, there is an on-going clamour to live “greener” lifestyles. The power sector, in particular, is gearing towards developing renewable energy in the Philippines. We are now seeing industrial and commercial spaces turning to solar energy to power their offices and malls. This begs the question, is it also feasible in a smaller scale as to households? To get the answers, PhilippineTatler.com reached out to the experts, Mike de Guzman, President of Solaric Philippines and Jose Rafael Mendoza, Marketing Head of Solar Philippines.
When asked if they knew how much luxury homes spend on electricity, both share that they’ve had clients whose houses have reached up to six figures on average. Considering the rising cost of power and how more consumption means higher rates, both companies believe in the practicality of using solar technology. De Guzman shares, “In most luxury homes, we only need to cover a fraction of the roof to power daytime loads with occasional power surplus that is sold back to Meralco via a special bidirectional meter or net metering agreement.”
Investment–wise, both companies offer their solar solutions from as low as of PHP 180,000 to PHP 530,000, depending on the consumption of the clientele and the size of the installation. Mendoza says, “A typical Filipino household is paying for their electricity at a rate of about PHP 11 to 14 per kilowatt hour. An investment in solar will reduce the cost of the electricity to around PHP 3 per kilowatt hour. A quality solar installation from a reputable provider… can last at least 25 years and the upfront cost can be recovered in as little as 3-4 years when used in parallel with net-metering programs of the local distribution utility.”
The question commonly asked when it comes to solar technology, in consideration of the country’s unpredictable weather, is whether or not having solar panels is really advisable? “While weather can be considered unpredictable, the Philippines enjoys one of the most consistent levels of sunlight (irradiation) in the world,” says Mendoza. Also in consideration of the typhoons, the system seems to be an effective source of power during calamities. De Guzman highlighted, “During Typhoon Glenda, we made a number of houses in Ayala Alabang run from solar panels for an entire week before power was restored.”
While both companies keep customer discretion, they share that they have catered to luxury homes in prominent subdivisions across the country. Some areas, however, have policies that disallow solar panels in homes to preserve the architectural design of the community. When asked about the aesthetic aspect of solar panels, De Guzman had this to say, “They have to adapt to the real world where energy generation and conservation are more valid concerns than preserving the integrity of the ‘old Spanish Mediterranean look.’ This is unrealistic. My point is, Jose Rizal didn’t have to deal with global warming; we do.”