Incentives, loans for small solar power users eyed – GMA News Online

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A bill granting incentives and credit facilities for consumers of small solar power systems in the Philippines has been filed in the House of Representatives.

House Bill 10253 filed by Minority Leader France Castro of ACT Teachers party-list, Assistant Minority Leader Arlene Brosas of Gabriela party-list, and Kabataan party-list Rep. Raoul Manuel seeks to mandate the government, through the Department of Energy, the National Renewable Energy Board (NREB), and the Housing and Urban Development Coordinating Council (HUDCC), to encourage the installation of small solar energy systems in homes and business establishments with a target of one million rooftops in the next ten years by granting various incentives and programs.

The bill tasks the NREB to 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 50%.

Likewise, the measure states that there should be a solar rooftop credit and financing program in place which is jointly administered by the NREB, the Pag­ IBIG Fund, the Government Service Insurance System (GSIS), and the Social Security System (SSS).

The multi-agency program should be accessible to all eligible Pag-IBIG, GSIS, and SSS members and should include installation of small solar power systems as an allowable expense for home construction and improvement.

Further, incentives granted to renewable energy developers as provided for in Republic Act 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act will be enjoyed by eligible participants using small solar power systems, subject to existing laws, rules, and regulations.

“In an era of increasingly high prices and foreseeable decline of the global oil supply, the government should at the soonest develop fuel alternatives and accelerate the exploration and utilization of renewable sources of energy. In 2008, Congress enacted Republic Act 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act 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,” the lawmakers said in their explanatory note.

“Sana ay agad na dinggin ng Kamara ang bill na ito para di tayo tuluyang nakasalalay sa mga generation companies na ang laging habol ay kumita. Dapat nga ay singilin sila o pagbayarin ng malaking multa sa halip na ang mga consumer ang pinagbabayad ng kapalpakan nila,” Castro added in a separate statement.

(I hope Congress takes action on this measure as soon as possible so we don’t have to depend on generation companies who are just after profit. They should be the ones paying fines over the outages in the first place.)

The bill was first filed in 2011 by then Bayan Muna party-list representative Teodoro Casino and was re-filed by Bayan Muna party-list lawmakers Neri Colmenares and Carlos Isagani Zarate in the 16th and 17th Congresses.—AOL, GMA Integrated News

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