A media forum dubbed as "Usapang Maliwanag: Financing Solar Energy for Houses and Businesses" was held recently is part of the Solar Rooftop Challenge, which highlights the benefits of using solar energy while busting misconceptions that hinder individuals and companies from taking it up.
It showcases existing solar rooftop installations of urban middle class households, celebrities, churches, schools, government buildings and private establishments, as well as empowering stories of people who have joined the solar rooftop revolution in the country.
Proving that solar energy is accessible to common Filipinos, Greenpeace Philippines gathered financing institutions and solar providers to connect energy consumers to easy financing options available in the market and help increase solar energy use in homes and businesses.
Availing of financing packages spreads the initial costs in putting up solar installations over the long term while already generating savings on electricity costs.
In particularly, Solar rooftops can create huge impacts in lowering monthly electricity bills and the growing availability of financial assistance for those who want to avail of solar installations is a great opportunity to harness the power of the sun and break away from our dependence on fossil fuel generated electricity, like coal.
"Now is the best time to switch on the power of renewables for each home and business to be at the forefront of our fight against catastrophic climate change. The call for the uptake of solar energy is not an empty appeal to each individual's altruism but, as we are attesting today, incentives await in the form of cheap and reliable energy. Financial solutions are widely available from many institutions, and after today, we are expecting more. For both homes and businesses, renewable energy is the way to go," said YebSaño, Executive Director of Greenpeace Southeast Asia.
At present, the Philippines produces 29 percent of its electricity through renewable sources, with the Department of Energy looking to raise it to 40 percent by 2020. The mainstream adoption of renewable energy will result in creation of jobs and lower power generation costs that allow households to return the difference in savings to their budgets.
"It is important to note that while large-scale solar power plants are being constructed and going online in the Philippines, there is still a huge amount of solar energy potential that remains untapped. This is where solar rooftop installations on homes, schools, hospitals, and businesses can complete the picture of a country like the Philippines moving towards a higher share of renewable energy in its power generation mix. The energy revolution will happen right on the rooftops of Filipinos' homes," said Reuben Muni, Climate and Energy Campaigner of Greenpeace Southeast Asia Philippines.
Muni also called for a more robust participation of both the government and business sector to further push the growth and development of renewable energy in the country.
“A strong relationship between the public and private institutions, as well as progressive legislations, should boost our transition to renewable energy. It encouragesand provides incentives to more people and businesses who opt to use the technology,” Muni added.
Greenpeace Philippines is joined by speakers from Home Development Mutual Fund (PAG IBIG Fund), who discussed how its members can avail of their Home Improvement Loan, which can cover the cost of purchase and installation of solar panels. Also in the forum are Solaric Philippines, Solar Philippines and Bank of the Philippine Islands.
Journalist, columnist and owner of the Kamuning Bakery Café, where the media forum was held, Wilson Lee Flores, also shared how his decision to use hybrid or partly solar-powered air-conditioning system in the 77-year-old café drastically lowered his monthly electricity bills.