Pres. Benigno S. Aquino III on Monday, Nov. 24, led the launch of SM City North Edsa?s solar rooftop project — so far, the biggest solar project in the country.
The SM North Edsa solar project, powered by 5,760 solar panels installed at the rooftop of the multilevel parking building, is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts of power for the mall?s 16,000 lighting fixtures, 59 escalators, and 20 elevators.
The SM Group first launched its solar project in SM Xiamen in China, with 1.1 megawatts solar energy produced by 3,740 panels.
Aquino said that with the project, the mall could save at least P2 million a month in energy expenses. He said the launch of the project is important, considering the looming power crisis next year.
Aquino also used to event to reiterate his appeal to Congress for the approval of the joint resolution granting him emergency powers to contract additional power supply.
?We are hopeful that both the House (of Representatives) and the Senate will approve the joint resolution we requested sooner rather than later, in order to give the national government enough time to contract the necessary reserves,? he said.
The solar rooftop project is the brainchild of Sen. Loren Legarda?s 21-year-old son, Leandro Leviste. A graduate of Yale University, Leviste committed to help the government reach its solar installation target of 500 megawatts by 2016, as set by the Department of Energy (DOE).
?Years from now, it will be said that under President Aquino?s term, the Philippines became a global leader in solar power because he had the vision to see that solar is not just a sustainable and clean energy source, but also commercially viable and a decisive solution to the power crisis,? Leviste said in his remarks.
According to SM Supermalls president Annie Garcia, solar panels will also be installed in other SM malls such as in SM City Dasmari?as in Cavite and in SM City Mall of Asia in Pasay City.
The SM City Dasmari?as will have 3,243 solar panels that are expected to generate 0.8 megawatts of power, while SM City Mall of Asia will have 10,534 solar panels that will generate 2.7 megawatts of power.
Also present during the event were House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Sen. Loren Legarda, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.
The solar panels were installed by Solar Power Philippines, which is said to be Southeast Asia?s largest developer of rooftop power plants. It also put up solar panels at the Binan Mall with 700-kilowatt installed capacity last September.
Aquino said investments in renewable energy (RE) by both the government and the private sectors ?drive home the point that renewable energy sources represent a long-term investment.?
?It plays to our country?s strengths, provides insulation from fluctuations in the international oil market and thus allows us to be more self-sufficient, generates savings in terms of electricity costs, and also contributes to the preservation of the environment and mitigates the effects of climate change,? he said.
While the share of RE on the mall?s power requirements remains small, this translates to about Php 2 million monthly savings, he said.
Aside from solar power, SM have also indicated its interest to join the Department of Energy?s (DOE) Interruptible Load Program (ILP) by deloading some 57.9-MW of power supply when supply thins.
Under the ILP, customers of distribution utilities (DUs) that have generator sets will be allowed to use their own power generators and not rely on DUs like the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) for supply.
This is aimed at ensuring that power consumers that do not have the capacity to provide their needs will have supply, especially in the summer of 2015 when demand is expected to shoot up.
In turn, those who will join the ILP program will be paid on the fuel and oil used in running their own generators and on the depreciation of the equipment.
?This might not be enough to address that shortage, but it is indeed a very significant step forward, and will hopefully spur other businesses to follow suit,? Aquino added. — PNA