Top 5 Solar-powered Malls in the Philippines

The use of solar is the current trend in the power generation industry. The reason is because it is much cleaner and cheaper than other sources like coal. Many homes have resorted into solar and saved. Well, malls wouldn’t want to be left out either. There are malls that have entered a contract with Solar Philippines, founded by Leandro Leviste, to replace their source of power to solar. Starting from the first one to make this change, let us know the top 5 solar-powered malls.

Central Mall Biñan

central mall binanftop span of the mall is 7,000 square meters which are installed with 2,514 solar panels and equipment from premium German brands. It was able to cover 30% of the mall’s energy needs, resulting in millions of pesos savings in their part. The constructed roof deck can be able to supply enough energy to 1,000 homes and after 20 years of its operation, it would be able to have an offset of over 20,000 tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to planting 100,000 trees.

CityMall Roxas

It was agreed on April 2014 between Solar Philippines and the management of CityMall to construct a solar panel system in their roof. The project would be a 650-kilowatt rooftop solar system. It would diminish their electricity bills and would be able to supply 40% of their energy needs. CityMall Roxas, located in Panay, is the first solar mall outside Luzon.

SM North Edsa

The project has 5, 750 solar panels which are installed in the multi-level parking building. It generates 1.5 MW of power that is enough for the mall’s 16,000 lighting fixtures, 59 escalators, and 20 elevators. It is expected to cover 5% of the mall’s total electricity. It is said to give 2 million of savings in the electric bill for SM North Edsa. During the time of its launching, it replaced the Central Mall Biñan on being the largest solar-powered mall.

Robinsons Place Palawan

untry because it is not serviced by the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines due to its location. The solar project is expected to help in Puerto Princesa’s frequent power shortages. It is the first and biggest off-grid rooftop solar panel project in the Philippines.

Robinsons Starmills

The world’s largest rooftop solar-powered mall was now the Robinsons Starmills in Pampanga. The said solar project has the capacity of 2.88 megawatts of power. It has beaten the current largest solar-powered mall, the SM North Edsa with 1.5 MW of power. Spanning 1.75 hectares of roof space, the Robinsons Starmills had 10,880 solar panels installed. It covers the 25% of the mall’s energy need and diminished their monthly electric bill.< According to Solar Philippines, more malls are turning to solar as their energy source. This list would not end here. We can look forward to more and much bigger solar panel projects in the years to come as people became acquainted with this cheaper and cleaner way of generating power.

Batangas’ Largest Solar Farm – Harvesting Solar Power in the Philippines

A past unproductive land in Barangay Paraiso, Batangas, became a sea of 200,000 solar panels, harvesting heat from the sun and generates enough electricity to power the whole of Western Batangas. The 63.3-megawatt Calatagan Solar Farm at the convergence of Calatagan, Lian, and Balayan towns is the largest solar facility here in the Philippines today. It is a 160-hectare farm that is meant for efficient and eco-friendly power generation of Batangas.

It was Solar Philippines – lead by a 22-year-old entrepreneur Leandro Leviste- who developed and financed this breakthrough in the country’s power generation. The solar farm cost up to $120 million or 5.7 billion pesos. It started generating power before the March 15 government deadline.

It was perceived that with over three decades of its operation, the solar farm would offset over 1 million tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to planting 5 million trees. Since the operation began, more and more people are being employed; giving a piece of livelihood to many. It would diminish the unemployment rate in the region and boost the economy of Batangas.

According to Leviste,” Whereas others see solar power as just a part of their portfolio, we believe it will one day supply the largest share of the energy mix. Costs continue to improve, and solar will soon become cheaper than coal. As the only local company organized to develop and build solar farms from end-to-end, we are in a unique position to realize that potential.”

Aside from being the biggest completed solar power project so far, it is also the first that a local company has developed, financed and constructed a renewable energy facility.

The majority of the cost was funded by Philippine Business Bank(PBB) lead by business magnate Alfredo Yao. Leviste acknowledged the other’s participation in the fulfillment of this project. He also said that he expected this solar farm to break even in eight years.

Before resorting to making a solar farm, solar power Philippines has already made some breakthrough in solar panel installation. They are the ones that built solar panels on top of shopping malls such as Central Mall Biñan, SM North Edsa and Robinsons Palawan with dreams of turning every vast rooftop in this country into a power plant.

However, they prefer to build solar farms because it is a good way to scale-up operations and generate power at a lower cost. Plus, it is environment-friendly!

Solar Power Supply in the Philippines is looking forward to building more solar farms, this time, in Visayas and Mindanao. They aim to reach the 500MW capacity by 2017. Currently, the Solar Power in the Philippines has already completed 80MW in total, including the Calatagan project. Leviste is confident that his company would be able to complete all the projects he has in mind.

“The exciting thing is that the Philippines will be among the first places where solar power will overtake fossil fuel, because existing rates are so competitively high, allowing the Philippines to become a global leader in solar power and positioning it for when the numbers start to make sense in the rest of the world. That can only happen if companies like us are focused on making solar power cost competitive for the long term, instead of just maximizing profits from subsidies in the short term,” he said.

Of course, having these positive results in view would also mean some challenges that one may face. An example of that is land acquisition. Leviste said that they found it difficult to acquire land for the building of solar farms because Filipinos highly value arable land. Though challenging, Leviste pushes through his vision to replace our transmission grid with solar power generation. He was then recognized by Forbes among the inspiring young leaders in various fields.


Solar Energy vs. Coal Power Plants – Is Coal Really Cheaper?

Many people in the Philippines think that solar energy is expensive and is not yet competitive. In May 2016, the world’s lowest solar was bid in Dubai at P1.345 per kilowatt hour. The same scenario of having low bids was present in Mexico with P1.575 and P1.741 in the United States by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway. The said decrease was the result of the diminished cost of solar panels of up to 90 percent over the past decade, the low-interest rates and high amount of sunlight in those areas. Philippines have quite higher cost for fossil fuels than solar energy in those places; where coal averages at P4, gas at P6 and diesel at P8.

Solar Energy in the Philippines

In the recent news, the Deutsche Bank ranked the Philippines ahead of those countries as being the world’s most attractive markets for solar energy because of the country’s high power rates and sunlight. Though the Philippines have this recognition, solar energy use is still not established here due to some conventional reasons like the said needed subsidies. Well, as we can see, solar energy is much cheaper than coal. So why do the Philippines don’t resort to solar energy as the source of power? Here are 6 reasons given by the founder of Solar Philippines, Leandro Leviste.

6 Reasons why the Philippines still don’t fully benefit from cheap Solar Energy

First, the local market has only now gained economies of scale. The Philippines had a total 4 megawatts of solar in 2013, but it has reached 900 MW by mid-2016.

Second, few companies integrate development, investment, and construction all in-house. But as the market matures, agents, middlemen, and subcontractors will struggle to compete.

Third, no local company has until recently gone into solar manufacturing, but now the need to beat fossil fuel is driving companies to vertically integrate to lower costs.

Fourth, projects previously avoided technologies like trackers that follow the sun and increase yield by 20 percent, because the Feed-in-Tariff had companies building fast to meet a deadline. But now, companies can take time to optimize performance.

Fifth, solar previously had subsidies, which are necessary to start an industry but over time make companies uncompetitive because necessity is the mother of invention.

And sixth, because companies may believe keeping prices high is in their best interest. But companies should consider that, if the entire industry lowered prices, solar would grow from a small subsidized market of just 1 percent of energy demand to 100 percent of the Philippines.

We could save P100 billion a year with Solar Energy in the Philippines

Solar needs batteries to be able to supply electricity even when there is no sunlight to generate, especially during the night. Batteries really will add an increase in the cost of solar energy for the Philippines at around P2.50 per kWh. But, it is believed that this will roughly decrease to P1.25 per kWh by 2020 due to constant battling against the use of coal as the source of energy. Still, with the current cost of batteries in mind, Philippines can save up to P100 billion a year if solar would replace all gas, oil, and diesel. It should lower our generation cost by up to 20 percent.

This energy transition of the Philippines will not happen overnight. It must first make the changes, gradually. The country must ensure a reliable energy source and replace the major power plants first, ending with the smaller power plants. As soon as 2020 we can make this gradual transition, says Leviste.

One problem left is that the coal plants about to start their construction already have long-term contracts. Pushing through those projects would still make us captive to the expensive, dirty and old source of energy. Why would we choose that if there is an offer of cheaper and cleaner source?


Best Conditions for Solar Panels in the Philippines

Solar energy is the most reliable form of renewable energy. Solar panels have photovoltaic cells (PV cells) that convert the sun rays into electricity. You have to know the factors and the best conditions for the solar panel to generate electricity.

Factors Affecting the Solar Panel

  • The positioning of the panel – The solar panel is designed to absorb much sun rays to generate more electricity. The placement of the solar panel must be ensured that it gets the maximum amount of sunlight possible.
  • The direction of the roof – One important factor affecting the performance of the solar panel is the direction of the roof where it is to be installed. The roof must be facing south in order to achieve maximum efficiency. If your roof is facing east or west, don’t worry. Studies show that solar panels facing east or west have only 15% less electricity generation than those facing south. It is still plenty enough to provide power for your house and a return on investment.
  • The angle of the solar panel – The solar panel must be mounted with an angle of 30 to 60 degrees from horizontal to get its optimum efficiency. If your roof is flat, consider putting an angled mounting bracket to ensure that the solar panels get the maximum amount of sunlight. When the sun is high in the sky, especially during summer, the angle of the solar panel must only be 30 degrees. During rainy season or when the sun is lower in the sky, the solar panel must be placed around 60 degrees. Having the same angle of the solar panel throughout the year or changing it depending on the season won’t give big difference, though.

What are the best conditions for generating solar energy in the Philippines?

Weather condition – The best weather condition is when the day is clear and bright. The solar panel reaches its optimal output during this time because the maximum amount of light can penetrate it and it can then produce electricity. The solar panel needs light from the sun, not heat. That is the reason why the solar panel generates more solar energy in clear, non-cloudy days than in warm days. Regular amounts of rainfall do not really affect the output of solar panels; instead, these can clean the panels from dust and dirt. This can also help keep the solar panels cool which can be beneficial to its efficiency. During cloudy days, the solar panel generates only one-third of their maximum output; hence, it is the time that the production is least optimal.

Time of year – During the dry season, generally, from December to May, the country is experiencing moderate to high temperature and less rainfall. There is also an abundant amount of solar power during this season. Having a long dry season of about 6 months, one problem that may arise is experiencing high temperature in the months described as the hot dry season, March to May, because too much heat would diminish the performance of the solar panel.

Type of solar panel – It is said that the most efficient solar panel is the most expensive, monocrystalline type. Today, there are many varieties of solar panels, from monocrystalline to polycrystalline type. Solar Panel Philippines have these variations added to supreme quality products. They are a trusted supplier and distributor of solar panels in the Philippines, not to mention their contribution to Germany’s solar panel distribution. So what are you waiting for? Contact us.

Solar Panels and the Philippine Climate

Climate is defined as the weather condition prevailing in an area in general or over a long period of time. Solar panel, being an instrument that really needs proper exposure to sunlight in order to generate electricity, is closely related to climate. Solar panel use here in the Philippines has some aspects to be considered also. In order to enhance the entire system’s performance, the climate must be assessed and checked if having a solar panel would be a good choice for you.

Considering climate when using solar panels

The climate of the Philippines is either tropical or subtropical. It means that we are only experiencing two seasons: the dry and the wet season. There are four types of climate in the whole country that is characterized by the amount of rainfall.

The first and the most important element of climate that must be considered is sunlight. The amount of sunlight present in the area would affect the general performance of the solar panel in generating electricity. During the dry season, generally, from December to May, the country is experiencing moderate to high temperature and less rainfall. There is also an abundant amount of solar power during this season. Solar Panel Philippines makes use of this condition to offer efficient and environment-friendly source of electricity in the country.

The second element to be considered is the rainfall. Wet and humid environments tend to cause corrosion in metals found in the solar panel. The electrical connections would also be susceptible to damage. This would result in poor system performance. In order to have your solar panels still working efficiently during the rainy season, June to November, you need to seal the equipment junctions properly.

Sunlight yes, but not extreme heat

Having a long dry season of about 6 months, you need to consider also the temperature. High temperature would diminish the performance of the solar panel due to the PV cells on it that react on too much heat. This problem would only arise in the Philippines during the months of March to May, where it is described as the Hot Dry Season. The PV cells capture more sunlight in a cold, clear day than in a hot, sunny day.

You must also consider the air density in your area. There are places that the solar panel can be able to generate a good amount of electricity faster. An example of this is the mountains where there is enough solar exposure and the air is thinner that scatters less sunlight. This condition helps the solar panels to get the needed sunlight for its electric generation. The Philippines’ geographical makeup of having many mountains and high areas can be good for installing solar panels.

Stormy weather

The Philippines sits across the typhoon belt, making it susceptible to strong winds and typhoon. It usually has dangerous storms in the months of July through October. It usually hits the northern and eastern part of Luzon and eastern Visayas regions. Whenever a typhoon comes, it brings strong winds. Winds can also be considered in thinking about installing a solar panel. Strong winds can break the mounting hardware of the solar panel and result to big damage. It is better to think of a location to put the solar panel that doesn’t make it susceptible to strong winds.

Climate is one thing that Solar Panel Philippines knows how to deal with. They resort to some strategies to make their products last and satisfy the customers here in the Philippines. They are a proven supplier and distributor of high-quality solar panels. So don’t let the climate break your expectation. Go solar!