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How practical is solar power for PH home owners?


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Not sure if this has been covered here but just wanted to share this interesting piece, esp to those who are thinking of building their own homes in the PH

 

http://www.rappler.com/business/industries/173-power-and-energy/64165-solar-power-ph-households-net-metering

 

MANILA, Philippines – Mike De Guzman is one of the few Filipinos who looks forward to receiving his monthly electricity bill.

 

In the past 8 months, he's been paying less and less for his power usage. If he used to pay around P24,000 (US$555*) to electrify his two-story, 3-bedroom house in Makati, now he has been paying only half, around P12,000 ($277). On good months, he has even gotten it down to P9,000 ($208).

 

He and his wife whoop for joy as they read a Meralco bill that had just arrived – P9,500 ($220).

 

Why the lower bill? Did electricity get cheaper without the rest of Metro Manila knowing it?

 

In a way, yes. For the past months, the De Guzman household has been getting around 80% of their electricity from the sun.

 

Their home's roof is strapped with 20 solar panels that produce an average of 675 kilo-Watt-hours (kWh) or P8,000 ($185) of electricity a month.

 

From 8 am to 5 pm, the De Guzman home is powered by the sun. At night, when the sun too must sleep, the normal Meralco grid kicks in.

 

Is this cheating? Nope. In fact, the De Guzman household is one of the first to make use of a renewable energy program of Meralco called net metering.

 

Net metering allows households to sell back excess electricity generated by their renewable energy systems and use them as credits to lower their electricity bill the next month. (READ: Renewable energy use gaining worldwide – IEA)

 

Meralco came up with the program to comply with the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 which allows each homeowner to have up to 100 kWp (kilo-Watt peak) of installed solar panels under net metering. (READ: DOE to add more renewable energy in grid by 2014)

 

In June, Meralco announced they had finalized the Implementing Rules and Regulations (IRR) for the net metering program.

 

Plugged into the sun

 

De Guzman became a bonafide champion of solar energy a year ago when he bought his first solar panel.

 

"I put it in this house, I turned it on, I turned on my aircon and the meter wasn't moving. Then I knew I stumbled upon something," he told Rappler.

 

 

 

20140723-solar-panel-meralco-05.JPG

ABUNDANT. Mike De Guzman's wide roof is an ideal place to install solar panels.

 

At that point, he was close to desperate to find a cheaper energy solution. His family owns a call center, an apartment building and hotel, which all use vast amounts of power. Couple that with Philippine electricity rates (around P11 to P13 per kWh or $0.25 to $0.30), one of the highest in the world.

 

The abundant sun tends to be overly-generous. On summer days when the sun shines longer, De Guzman's solar panels produce up to 34 kWh as it did last May. This is enough to run an aircon for 45 hours.

 

Often, he has more energy than he needs.

 

"I had so much power I didn't even know what to do with it. Last summer, I just turned on my aircon and put the dog in the living room because I had a lot of power. I could use 3 aircons and not use a watt from Meralco."

 

So he visited the Meralco office in Pasig City asking for a program that would buy his excess solar power from him. After several letters and the pressure of the Renewable Energy Act, Meralco launched its net metering program in September 2013.

 

The program allows the De Guzmans to use their solar panels for their daytime electricity consumption. At night, they use their subdivision's Meralco grid which they pay for monthly.

 

But if their solar panels generate more electricity than they use (as is usually the case), the excess energy goes to Meralco's grid to be used by other customers.

 

Meralco "pays" for this extra energy by subtracting the cost of that electricity from the De Guzman's bill the next month.

 

The family is able to save even more by combining net metering with Meralco's Peak/Off-Peak (POP) program.

 

The POP program means that, instead of charging you the same rate for electricity, Meralco will charge a higher rate for daytime consumption and a lower rate for night-time consumption.

 

This is because demand for power in the daytime is higher than at night.

 

Currently, Meralco's POP daytime rate (average generation charge) is P7.50 ($0.17) per kWh while it's evening rate is P3.50 ($0.08) per kWh.

 

Meralco "buys" De Guzman's excess electricity for P5.50 ($0.13) per kWh. So even if he still pays for the electricity he uses at night, he gets credited more per kWh he generates in excess.

 

"It comes in handy if you go for vacation for a month or you're out of the country. Then when you come back, you're going to have a lot of credits because your panels were generating energy all that time. Eventually you'll use it all up within the year," said De Guzman.

20140723-solar-panel-meralco-03.JPG

IN EXCESS. On summer days, the De Guzmans often generate more electricity from their solar panels than they need.

 

Is it affordable, practical?

 

De Guzman spent around P500,000 ($11.600) for his 5 kW solar panel system. He says it's worth it, considering the savings. (READ: Renewable energy in PH affordable in long term — study)

 

"It will pay for itself in 5 years. The solar panels themselves will last for 25 years. It's better than a time deposit," he said.

 

Solar panels have begun to make so much "economic sense" that De Guzman now runs his own solar panel-installing company.

 

The past 3 years have seen the cost of solar panels go down to less than half, largely because of China, he said.

 

"Solar panels used to be expensive. The only players were Americans and Germans. I have this US inverter that used to cost US$5,000 (P216,000). The one I have now from China is $1,100 (P47,500)."

 

Solar panels vary in size and cost. A tiny 80-watt solar panel can be had for P3,000 ($69). A 250-watt panel is sold for around P15,000 ($347).

 

In general, each 250-watt solar panel can save you P200 to P500 ($4.6-11.6) each month, said De Guzman.

 

With solar panels, one size does not fit all. The size and cost of a system depends on the amount of appliances, electric consumption and architecture of a house.

 

Solar panels are ideal for houses with wide roofs, said De Guzman. They aren't practical for apartments since balcony space is often not enough for a solar panel.

 

Apartment owners would have to ask the building owner for permission to use the roof. Panels are most efficient during the summer months of April and May. During the rainy season, from June to July, the panels will generate two-thirds what it would on a summer day.

 

20140723-solar-panel-meralco-01.JPG

MONITORING. This meter indicates how much electricity is being generated by the De Guzmans' solar panels.

 

They are easy to maintain, and need only a wiping down or cleaning every few months. But after 25 years, they will be producing 20% less electricity than they did when first used.

 

To avail of the net metering scheme, home owners can call or visit Meralco Business Centers. They will be asked to sign a Net Metering Agreement and provide several required documents.

 

Meralco says it should take 3 months from application to actual connection of a resident's solar panels to the net metering program.

 

Availing of the POP program is a bit trickier. The resident's usage must be over P8,000 ($185) a month. It also requires more documents.

 

De Guzman's company, Solaric, sells solar panel systems and takes care of net metering and POP applications. So far, they've installed systems in around 30 homes in Metro Manila, Cebu, Dumaguete and Cagayan de Oro.

 

As a "guinea pig" of the combined programs, De Guzman had to wait 10 months before he could make full use of the schemes. He had to go through 150 pages of paperwork.

 

But for him, it was all worth it.

 

Aside from electricity bill savings, his solar panels have lessened the load for an already power-strapped country.

 

It's a happy coincidence that solar panels work best during hours when the country's grid is most burdened.

 

From 10 am to 2 pm, electricity grids work on overdrive, sometimes requiring Meralco to buy power from coal and diesel generators at very high rates.

 

"So when you have a lot of solar, it coincides with the peak demand," said De Guzman.

 

"We supply the grid with our excess power when the grid needs it the most. Instead of me being a burden, I'm a positive producer of power." – Rappler.com

Edited by Hell Boy
changed formatting so i could read it! Don't just copy and paste, please.
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although this story by itself may not have been mentioned , there is a section of the forums dedicated to "green living in the Philippines" where solar is talked about :) 

 

Anyway thx for sharing  :good:  

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Mikala

150 pages of paperwork? Wow... I thought filling out 55 pages of paperwork to get a government shipyard job was insane...

 

It's kind of sad that the program requires a minimum usage of 185 bucks a month to get into the program. Why not invite all users? Doesn't just need to be rich people.

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SomeRandomGuy

24 thousand pesos a month....600 bucks aud. wtf

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although this story by itself may not have been mentioned , there is a section of the forums dedicated to "green living in the Philippines" where solar is talked about :) 

 

Anyway thx for sharing  :good:  

It seems that the mod already put this article in the right forum, so no worries ;-)

24 thousand pesos a month....600 bucks aud. wtf

I also thought it was a very expensive electricity bill!

150 pages of paperwork? Wow... I thought filling out 55 pages of paperwork to get a government shipyard job was insane...

 

It's kind of sad that the program requires a minimum usage of 185 bucks a month to get into the program. Why not invite all users? Doesn't just need to be rich people.

Hopefully, that time would come one day... Says the highly optimistic me ;-)

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Dual wall unit air conditioners seems strange.

 

Maybe they should have started with a single split type inverter unit.

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Mikala

 

 

Hopefully, that time would come one day... Says the highly optimistic me

 

Always good to be optimistic in life. Less stress!

 

In the coming months, I'll be installing a new inverter and battery bank in my outbuildings, then solar electric and hot water after it's roofed over. I'll post photos and such, but I'm happy being off-grid. Filling out 150 pages of forms would not delight me at all.

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You guys think this guy really gives two shits about how much his power bill is, or what sort of air-cons he uses? Money is the least of his worries. 

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rainymike

Well, I guess that depends if you are rich like that guy, or come from the shanty home area.

 

LOL ... my solution would have to buy more fans and ditch the air con. Probably could have dropped his electricity bill to under 5K easy.

 

If I were to go solar, I'd probably look at more passive solar energy applications. Location and design of the home to enhance cooling during the day. Solar water heating. etc.

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Mikala

 

 

Solar water heating

 

Solar water heating has a fast payback. I've even seen some farmers just use a roll of black hose they threw onto their roof as their solar hot water. It's amazingly effective in warm climates.

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In the past 8 months, he's been paying less and less for his power usage. If he used to pay around P24,000 (US$555*) to electrify his two-story, 3-bedroom house in Makati, now he has been paying only half, around P12,000 ($277). On good months, he has even gotten it down to P9,000 ($208).

 

For the past months, the De Guzman household has been getting around 80% of their electricity from the sun.

 

Their home's roof is strapped with 20 solar panels that produce an average of 675 kilo-Watt-hours (kWh) or P8,000 ($185) of electricity a month.

 

De Guzman spent around P500,000 ($11.600) for his 5 kW solar panel system. He says it's worth it, considering the savings.

 

"It will pay for itself in 5 years. The solar panels themselves will last for 25 years. It's better than a time deposit," he said.

 

This just isn't adding up. Me thinks, because the dear fellow happens to own a solar installation company (as well as his other companies), that he's blowing smoke up someone's ass - everyone's. 

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fred42

You guys think this guy really gives two shits about how much his power bill is, or what sort of air-cons he uses? Money is the least of his worries. 

 

 

Perhaps it was his attitude to saving costs that made him rich in the first instance.

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  • 3 weeks later...
PabloNasidman

Maybe I see things a bit different, but since 20 years, we are not connected to the electrical grid. And it is getting better and easier every year. Every year, better and nicer 12V lighting fixtures appear on the market. Better 24 Volt fridges are available, more 24V pumps can be bought, nicer 12V fans, better 12V televisions and cheaper solar panels are available.  I can not understand why anybody would want to be connected to the grid unless you really want to run an aircon. But then, we also have proven that by using old fashioned architectural tricks, you do not actually need aircons and you can keep your house cool. I use a generator only for the washing machine and when I need to use the powertools. With the new 3kW windmill I will build next year, we can do the laundry when the wind blows, so we do not even need the generator for that anymore.

Why connect to the grid? My 6 panels have made me independent over the past 20 years and it's looking better every year.

The generator is running so seldom that 20 liter fuel lasts me a month. 

 

 

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My 6 panels have made me independent over the past 20 years and it's looking better every year.

 

Can you tell us a bit more about your array? Panel size? Controller? Batteries? I know I am always interested to hear about others' systems. 

 

What kind of controller are you using? PWM? MPPT? I got a Midnite Kid earlier this year and love it. 

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spydoo

Maybe I see things a bit different, but since 20 years, we are not connected to the electrical grid. And it is getting better and easier every year. Every year, better and nicer 12V lighting fixtures appear on the market. Better 24 Volt fridges are available, more 24V pumps can be bought, nicer 12V fans, better 12V televisions and cheaper solar panels are available.  I can not understand why anybody would want to be connected to the grid unless you really want to run an aircon. But then, we also have proven that by using old fashioned architectural tricks, you do not actually need aircons and you can keep your house cool. I use a generator only for the washing machine and when I need to use the powertools. With the new 3kW windmill I will build next year, we can do the laundry when the wind blows, so we do not even need the generator for that anymore.

Why connect to the grid? My 6 panels have made me independent over the past 20 years and it's looking better every year.

The generator is running so seldom that 20 liter fuel lasts me a month. 

Great first post; it's nice to have you here.

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