Opposition Senator Leila M. de Lima has filed a measure which pushes for the utilization of solar energy in homes as a means to lowering energy costs and reducing overall carbon footprint in the country.
De Lima filed Senate Bill (SB) No. 1904 which seeks to promote the use of renewable energy providing incentives and credit facilities for households utilizing solar power systems.
“This bill seeks to institutionalize the provision of adequate incentive mechanisms for small households in order to help ease and expedite their transition to renewable energy sources and thus contribute to the nation’s pursuit towards reducing its overall carbon footprint,” she said.
In 2016, the Department of Energy (DOE) reported that approximately 24% of power generated nationwide came from Renewable Energy (RE)-based generation facilities.
The Senator from Bicol noted that upon closer inspection, the data revealed that only 1% of all RE for the same year was generated from solar photovoltaic systems.
De Lima said utilizing solar energy is an endeavour that should be considered by the government because “generating electricity by way of harvesting solar energy is becoming cheaper as the years go by.”
According to the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), the cost of power generation from solar photovoltaic systems has fallen by 73% since 2010 and is projected to be further cut by half in the year 2020.
De Lima also said that solar panels are relatively easy to acquire, transport, and install, noting that sometimes only taking a few hours to a few days for larger arrays.
“This ease of access is what makes solar panels unique from other energy sources – renewable or otherwise,” she said.
“The sooner the nation adopts policies promoting renewable energy sources, the closer it is to achieving energy independence,” she added.
Under her proposed measure, the Department of Finance (DOF) and concerned agencies shall draw-up appropriate mechanisms for the grant of subsidies, establishment of guarantee funds, tax credits, and rebates on the purchase and installation of small solar power system for residential use.
The Senator from Bicol explained, “These incentive mechanisms shall be implemented in tranches beginning from a subsidy of 75% of the basic cost for the installation of small solar power systems in the first three years of this Act’s implementation, 50% on the next three years, and 25% on the seventh year onward.”
“The installation of small solar power systems shall be granted expedited plan checks and shall be exempt from the payment of building permit fees. The total cost of the solar power system shall further be excluded from the computation and payment of real property taxes,” she added.
The DOF, in coordination with Department of Science and Technology, DOE, and The National Renewable Energy Board shall issue the necessary rules and regulations for the implementation of the proposed measure to be known as the “Small Solar Power System Incentives Act of 2018.”