By Lenie Lectura – August 23, 2017
from Business Mirror
THE country’s first solar farm was inaugurated on Wednesday, establishing the Philippines as a major player in the global renewable-energy revolution, and enabling solar panels to become accessible to everyday Filipinos.
The Solar Philippines Power Project Holdings Inc. factory utilizes state-of-the-art technology and the highest quality materials. It will produce 800 megawatts in 2018, greater than the solar-production capacity of the entire United States, making the Philippines a global leader in solar-panel manufacturing.
“Around the world, consumers are going solar because they see the renewable-energy revolution has already arrived,” Solar Philippines President Leandro Leviste, 23, said. “We are optimistic that not only will Filipinos think the same, but also soon see that the Philippines can become the leader in this global energy transition.”
Solar Philippines owns the factory, and is partnering with Chinese companies to manufacture solar panels for export to the US and Europe. The company has also begun selling panels to local distributors, and solar systems to homes and businesses on installment at zero up-front cost.
Leviste noted that solar-panel costs have fallen 90 percent over the last 10 years and 50 percent in the last three years alone. This has prompted countries, like China and India, to source the majority of their new power requirements from renewables, he said.
“This factory has enabled us to generate the lowest cost power in the history of the Philippines,” Leviste noted, referencing an offer it recently submitted to the country’s electric utilities to replace many planned fossil-fuel plants with 5,000 MW of solar farms.
“Filipinos can save 30 percent on electricity.” According to Leviste, the average family paying P3,000 will see their bill decrease to P2,000 a month.
“And now, with the latest batteries, entire towns can use solar energy for 24 hours a day.”
The company also announced its new initiative to help communities with poor electric service to form their own “solar power associations” and avail themselves of low-cost 24/7 power.
“We don’t measure our success in terms of profits or revenues, but our contribution toward the development of the Philippines,” Leviste said. “This factory will create 50,000 jobs for the solar industry, from manufacturing to installation, and show the world that Filipino ingenuity is second to none.”
Solar Philippines entered solar manufacturing after SunPower, a US solar company, shut down two of its factories in the Philippines. Since then, Solar Philippines has hired Filipinos experienced in manufacturing solar panels in line with international standards and certifications.