Philippines Aim To Save US$20 billion Annually Using Distributed Energy

A looming power shortage demands extraordinary measures, Urban Green Energy and Orion help to ramp solar energy.
Published: Tue 07 Oct 2014

The Philippines is struggling to cope with insufficient power supplies, as well as infrastructure and energy inefficiencies. Blackouts are costing the country an estimated US$20 billion annually and this is on top of the island’s increasing electricity prices which start from US$0.28/kWh.

A looming power shortage is forcing the Philippine government to consider extraordinary measures to keep the lights on in millions of homes and businesses. President Benigno Aquino III announced recently that he is seeking emergency powers from Congress to help plug a fast-approaching hole in the country's electricity output. Due to maintenance outages and delays with new plants, Mr. Aquino warned that the island of Luzon—home to 44 million Filipinos—may generate as little as 8,000MW of electricity next spring. This is 1,000MW under what the island actually needs.

Distributed generation will provide a reliable power source

As the economy grows and Filipinos demand more reliable sources of energy, distributed renewable energy sources will become more attractive.

Companies such as Urban Green Energy (UGE) and Manila-based procurement and management company Orion Group are responding to this opportunity and have joined forces to accelerate solar energy production in the Philippines.

Demonstrating momentum in the Philippines renewable energy market, UGE and Orion have already completed several successful solar and wind project installations together. The two firms have now entered into a strategic partnership that will enable them to provide commercial businesses with renewable energy that is more affordable and more reliable than the electricity grid. This includes a contract for a 150kW solar array and rooftop wind turbine at Calamba Doctors Hospital, which is set to be installed this year to significantly lower the energy costs for the facility.

Renewable energy will help save money and the environment

The partnership will yield five further orders for 240kW renewable energy systems.

The strategic partnership brings together UGE’s global expertise in renewable energy solutions for businesses, as well as Orion’s deep understanding of the Philippines market. UGE and Orion will also leverage flexible financing options on behalf of customers, making it possible for Filipino businesses to reduce or completely eliminate the upfront costs of installing solar technology and instead pay a fixed monthly rate.

Earlier this year, UGE and Orion installed a hybrid solar and wind energy at a property owned by leading real estate company Ayala Land Inc., the Anvaya Cove Resort and Nature Club near Manila.

The Philippines has a renewables target of 15GW by 2030 to help combat climate change. The island nation is more vulnerable to the effects of climate change due to its large coast lines. Last November the country was devastated by Typhoon Haiyan.

Adding more solar power to the mix can also help the country save money by reducing its growing dependence on imported fossil fuels. Distributed off-grid solar can be used as a backup during natural disasters or blackouts. The Philippines has over 7,000 islands, so distributed solar can be an effective solution when grid power is unavailable.