Solar firms join forces to apply for mini-grid franchises in Congress

By Lenie Lectura – October 11, 2018
from Business Mirror

SOLAR Para Sa Bayan Corp. (SPSBC) said thousands of small and medium solar companies are joining forces to apply for solar mini-grid franchises in Congress.

SPSBC President Leandro Leviste said his group has organized several open forums to discuss its proposed mini-grid franchise and provide advice to groups that wish to apply.

SPSBC is currently serving mini-grid solar service in Dingalan, Aurora; Calayan, Cagayan; Claveria, Masbate; Dumaran, Palawan; and Lubang, Occidental Mindoro.

Addressing 80 attendees in one recent open forum, Leviste said: “We’re glad to see so many people interested to join this movement. One company cannot solve all our country’s problems alone. The more of us are committed to work together on constructive solutions, the faster we can bring cheap, clean, reliable electricity to every Filipino.”

It said solar business owners, sole proprietors and enthusiasts were pitching together an average of P20,000 per member to form cooperatives, including the First Philippine Solar Cooperative, the Anak Araw Multipurpose Cooperative, and the United Solar and Renewable Energy Cooperative.

SPSBC said these organizations are part of the Solar Energy Association of the Philippines (SEAP), which it described as “the country’s largest solar industry association composed of members of Solar Power Philippines, a Facebook group of over 120,000 Filipinos from across the country.”

SEAP said: “We believe Solar Para Sa Bayan’s franchise paves the way for others to secure the same. The solar industry has long needed a solution like this, and now one company is proving it is possible. Our members are coming together to apply for their own franchises.”

“I am confident the minigrid market will grow as more companies apply for their own franchises. Filipinos will get more choices, and this will be a great opportunity for the energy industry to benefit both SMEs and consumers down to the barangay level,” said RC Alcazar, a longtime solar enthusiast and founding member of one solar cooperative.

“Now that solar co-ops give smaller businesses like ours an equal opportunity to work on minigrids, we can leverage on this network to reach the different parts of the country where we are based,” said Glenda Alcano, a prospective member of a solar cooperative based in Mindanao.