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SolarQuarter ASEAN magazine had an interesting conversation with Ms. Chinie Defensor – Director, Business Development, Engie (Philippines), and understood the rooftop tariffs in the country. She also spoke about the projects undertaken by the company and the future outlook on the solar sector.
- What have been some key learnings and challenges for the year 2021 especially after having faced the Covid crisis?
The past year has highlighted the interconnectedness of the global supply chain. Issues affecting raw materials in China, and logistics challenges around the world due in large part to COVID restrictions and limitations on production, have had significant ripple effects on component prices this year. It challenged the common notion that panel prices will continue to decline year after year and emphasized how unforeseen disruptions, such as the pandemic, can upend the market. Being able to successfully move forward will require learning how to be resilient and resourceful.
- What are the current tariffs seen in rooftop space in the Philippines?
Solar tariffs today are already competitive with the electricity rates of distribution utilities. However, this varies significantly from project to project as it is tied to specific factors such as the irradiance of a particular area, the layout of the facility, roof type, a client’s load profile, and the size of the system. In general, I would recommend that anyone who is interested in rooftop solar look closely into the capability of its supplier to deliver. In a given bid, there will be suppliers who would price themselves significantly lower than the competition, yet are unable to execute the project. In this market, sometimes if a rate looks too good to be true, it probably is.
- Please brief our readers about the Rooftop projects that you have undertaken.
Before the end of the year, we will be energizing a 2.9 MWp solar rooftop installation on Festival Mall, a Filinvest LifeMall in Alabang. The project was done through Filinvest-ENGIE Renewable Energy Enterprise Inc (FREE), a joint venture company of Filinvest Development Corp (FDC) and ENGIE Services Philippines. FREE signed a 20-year solar power purchase agreement in 2020 with Filinvest Land, Inc. (FLI). Once connected, the intelligent solar rooftop system will supply about 32 percent of the mall’s peak demand and save over 2800 Tons of CO2, an equivalent to removing 610 cars off the roads of Metro Manila annually.
- Lastly, please tell us how you think the solar sector is going to grow in the South East Asian region in the next 5 years?
I think we will see an acceleration in the adoption of distributed energy generation. The solar rooftop will become even more prolific. For the corporate sector, we will see more interest as companies align themselves with a sustainability agenda as consumer preferences become more and more green. For the residential sector, we will also see growth as the market expands and as daytime load begins to shift toward the home with hybrid work modes becoming more commonplace after COVID. Consumers will become prosumers as digital solutions enable greater visibility and control over their energy consumption.