Answer to rising power costs seen in sunlightInquirer Mindanao
A militant lawmaker is continuing to push for approval of a bill that seeks to install thousands of solar panels in homes to help consumers reduce their electricity expenses.
Bayan Muna Rep. Teddy Casiño, in a statement, said House Bill No. 4045 could be the answer to continuing increases in power rates.
The country’s biggest distributor of electricity, Manila Electric Co., is seeking to collect 28 centavos more per kilowatt-hour from consumers starting this month.
In a statement, Casiño said all that Congress has to do is pass HB 4045, or the proposed One Million Solar Roofs Act, to help consumers fight continuing increases in power rates.
The bill seeks to provide incentives and financing to allow electricity consumers like residences, offices and small- to medium-scale enterprises to install solar panels in their homes, offices or small factories.
The bill would allow homeowners and entrepreneurs to take out loans from Pag-Ibig, Government Service Insurance System , Social Security System and other financial institutions to purchase solar panels and pay back the loan out of the amount of savings they incur from using solar power.
“With the putting up of more solar power roofs, power demand from traditional sources would drop and thus would most likely push rates down,” Casiño said in a statement e-mailed to the Inquirer.
“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 plants,” Casiño said.
“In the National Capital Region, some peaking plants sell (power for) as high as P30 per kilowatt-hour while solar can cost half of that,” Casiño added.
He said the amount sold by the solar power producer can be offset from their monthly electricity bills through a net metering mechanism proposed in the bill.
“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,” said Casiño.
“It is really the way to go,” he said.
Casiño said the 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, he said.
“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,” Casiño added.
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