Solar power to light rural homes

Mass housing developers are being urged to put up solar powered homes to empower households.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) recently launched the net metering program in Via Verde, the country’s first solar-powered mass housing community in Sto. Tomas, Batangas.

The net-metering program enables an ordinary electricity consumer to become a “prosumer” that can generate electricity for its own consumption while any excess generation can be sold to the distribution grid.

“The ERC’s amended net-metering rules aim to empower consumers by enabling them to produce their own electricity and, thereby, pay lower electricity bills to their electricity provider,” ERC chairperson and CEO Agnes Devanadera said.

ERC recently promulgated the amendments to the rules enabling the net-metering program for reewable energy, which are made more accommodating to ordinary electricity consumers.

The rules for the net-metering program – a non-fiscal incentive mandated by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 – were promulgated as early as 2013.

Stakehoders, however, raised concerns over the implementation of the 2013 net-metering rules.

The amended net-metering rules included provisions that work for the benefit of prosumers or qualified end-user which include a simplified permitting procedure and reduced installation soft costs for renewable energy facilities.

Moreover, the distribution impact study (DIS) fee and other related soft costs were also removed in order to encourage participation from end-users.

The ERC deemed it appropriate to hold the launching of the amended net-metering rules at Via Verde.

Via Verde homeowners have the advantage of having lower electricity bills than those living in Metro Manila due to the solar panels installed on their rooftops.

In addition, since it is solar energy that is being tapped, it is also environment- friendly as it does not require any fuel to be generated, which will contribute to the significant reduction of harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

“These solar-powered homes mark the dawning of a new trend in mass housing as it combines worldclass technology and affordability. To top it all, these eco-friendly homes go with up to 100 years of warranty on the panel system,” Devanadera said. (By Danessa Rivera)