Solons urge government to invest in solar power

Lawmakers are urging the government to invest in solar power to
promote energy stability and attain energy independence from oil
companies and traditional energy sources.

Rep. Teodoro Casiño (Party-list, Bayan Muna), principal author of
House Bill 5405, said the objectives of the bill are to mitigate
global warming and air pollution and encourage industry growth that
will lead to more jobs and lower electricity bills.

“In an era of increasingly high prices and foreseeable decline of the
global oil supply, government should at the soonest develop fuel
alternatives and accelerate the exploration and utilization of
renewable sources of energy,” Casiño said.

Casiño said Congress enacted Republic Act 9513 or the Renewable
Energy Act in 2008 to encourage investments in renewable energy.  “To
complement this measure, it is also necessary to encourage demand and
provide incentives especially to purchasers of small renewable energy
systems,” Casiño added.

Rep. Luzviminda Ilagan (Party-list, Gabriela), another author of the
measure said the Philippines will greatly benefit from using renewable
sources of energy because of its clean and sustainable character.

Ilagan said solar technology can be an immediate and sustainable way
to deal with the country’s energy problems, especially with the
abundance of solar energy throughout the country and the modular
nature of solar energy systems.

“Besides the country being the second in Southeast Asia in terms of
irradiation and insolation, we already have the foundation to become a
renewable energy leader in the region owing to the strong
semi-conductor industry and the manpower base serving in the
manufacturing and service sectors, especially the installers’
sub-sector,” Ilagan said.

Rep. Raymond Palatino (Party-list, Kabataan), one of the authors of
the bill, said the measure provides for incentives and financing
facilities to encourage the use of solar energy by ordinary
electricity consumers like residences, offices and small and medium
business establishments.

“It is hoped that through this, the demand for clean solar energy, as
well as the opportunities for local manufacturing and related solar
energy products and services will increase,” Palatino said.

Under the measure to be known as the “One Million Solar Roofs Act of
2011,” the government, through the Department of Energy (DOE), the
National Renewable Energy Board (NREB) and the Housing and Urban
Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC) shall encourage the
installation of small solar energy systems in homes and business
establishments all over the country, targeting a million rooftops in
the next 10 years.

The bill mandates the NREB in consultation with stakeholders such as
homeowners, small businesses, factories and renewable energy providers
to issue the necessary rules and regulation for the effective
implementation of the proposed act.

The NREB shall formulate and implement the eligibility criteria for
qualified participants who may avail incentives and programs and
determine the minimum standards for small solar power systems, taking
into account installed nameplate capacity as well as local content,
which should be at least fifty percent (50%).

The bill mandates the NREB, Pag-IBIG Fund, the Government Service
Insurance System (GSIS) and the Social Security System (SSS) to
provide for a solar rooftop credit and financing program accessible to
all eligible Pag-IBIG, GSIS and SSS members.

Incentives granted to renewable energy developers as provided for
under RA 9513 such as Income Tax Holiday (ITH) for the first seven
years of its commercial operations; Duty-free Importation of RE
Machinery, Equipment and Materials; Special Realty Tax Rates on
Equipment and Machinery; Net Operating Loss Carry-Over (NOLCO);
Corporate Tax Rate and Accelerated Depreciation shall be applied to
eligible participants using small power systems.

Under the bill, the necessary funds for this Act shall be taken from
the proceeds of the Malampaya funds while the administrative expenses
shall be taken from the Renewable Energy Trust Fund under RA 9513.

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