Philippines deemed good market for solar energy systems

Carlo S. Lorenciana (The Freeman) - October 5, 2016 - 12:00am

CEBU, Philippines - A Japanese firm providing solar energy systems sees the Philippines particularly as a good market with the steady growth in energy demand.

Masayuki Aoki, general manager of Sustena Inc., believes the demand for solar power systems in the country is increasing as various companies seek to cut down on energy costs.

The company is supplying solar power systems to various factories, malls, hotels and other commercial establishments in Cebu. 

Aoki said that solar energy is a need in the Philippines considering the country’s high energy costs.

"Aside from cutting down energy costs, it's also a long-term investment for companies," he told The FREEMAN in an interview yesterday. 

He noted that investing into renewable energy in the Philippines is also conducive with the Feed-In Tariff (FIT) program.

Feed-In Tariffs are payments to ordinary energy users for the renewable electricity they generate.

Under the FIT, renewable energy developers sell their produced capacity to the national grid at a premium rate over 20 years as set by the Energy Regulatory Commission. 

Aoki sees an increasing number of firms in the country installing solar panels in their establishments to generate their own power.

He would also want to see more Filipino households investing into solar energy.

He shared that in Japan, many have developed their solar energy, saying that there are a lot of small solar farms in his country. 

Expanding the solar power generation, Aoki said, is a sustainable way for the Philippines given that it's environment friendly.

For a developing country like the Philippines, the government has to come up with a practical mixed-energy use policy that requires the presence of both baseload plants, such as those running on coal and natural gas, along with renewable energy, considering that clean energy is still deemed expensive at present.

The Department of Energy has aimed for a reliable, steady and affordable power supply and greater energy self-sufficiency.

Despite the call for the development of clean energy, the present administration is likely to retain coal as an integral part of the country’s power generation mix while expanding the use of renewable energy.

The combination of coal, renewable power and alternative energy sources would ensure adequate and stable power.

The DOE had pursued a 30-30-30 energy mix of coal, natural gas and RE, with the remaining 10% accounted for by other technologies.

But presently the country’s power generation is still dominated by coal-fired power plants. (FREEMAN)

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