By Roi Lomotan
DUMAGUETE CITY (PIA) – The Department of Energy (DOE) encourages local officials in Negros Oriental to develop more renewable energy projects in the province.
DOE-Visayas information Lou Arciaga cited this during a Kapihan sa PIA recently that Negros Oriental is behind Negros Occidental in terms of developing potential renewable energy sources.
Arciaga said, apart from the solar farm in San Carlos City, Negros Occidental, there are also other upcoming solar farms in Cadiz City, La Carlota City, Bacolod City and in Pulupandan.
Arciaga hopes that in the coming years, Negros Oriental will be able to catch up with its neighbor province in maximizing the utilization of its renewable energy sources especially now that there is a Negros Island Region.
“Hopefully there will be more renewable energy projects here,” Arciaga said.
As of now, Negros Oriental is the host of one renewable energy facility which is the geothermal powerplant in Valencia town operated by the Energy Development Corporation. This geothermal power plant is a big supplier of energy in the Visayas grid.
However, on the prospect of finding other renewable energy source, Arciaga sees solar power as another option for Negros Oriental.
According to Arciaga, solar energy is easy to put up from among the sources of renewable energy because there is solar radiation everywhere.
On the other hand, local solar power installation company: The Solar Power Company’s marketing head Cezar Miranda said, using solar power as a source of energy for local government offices and business establishments have environmental and economic benefits.
Miranda explained using energy helps in sustaining the environment since it reduces the carbon footprint in businesses. It is also accessible, maintenance free and the return of investment is estimated within 4-7 years.
He added that using solar power can bring savings for the Local Government Units (LGUs) and businessmen in the long run.
Using solar power empowers consumers and producers, he noted.
Dumaguete City resident Sonny Sabala, one of the reactors at the Kapihan sa PIA who uses solar power in his home disclosed that his electric bill reduced from P10,000 to P4,000 after he installed a 3 kilowatt solar panel in his house.
He shared that during the day, they use solar power to run their electric appliances and they only consume power from the local distribution company during the night which gives them savings on their electric dues.
Sabala also encourages those who are in the business sector to do the same since it would give them 80% savings in energy cost especially during daytime which is the peak hours of operations.
“We are going to save in this solar system. There is no doubt about that,” he said.
Business and LGUs for now could opt to install solar panels on their roofdecks since there is still no solar farm in the province.
However, if LGUs should then decide to tie up with renewable energy firms and develop a solar farms within the province, Arciaga suggests to use idle lands and if possible about 1 to 1.5 hectares.
The DOE official also discussed other incentives provided by the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 for the benefit of private companies who are interested in investing on renewable energy in Negros Oriental.
These include tax and duty-free Importation of components, parts and materials, tax credit on domestic capital components, parts and materials, income tax holiday and exemption and zero-rated value added tax transactions.
Apart from these, LGUs can also enjoy potential tourism growth once renewable energy facilities are developed.
Arciaga cited Bangui, Ilocos Norte which is a site of wind energy farm. She explained the place has become a tourist attraction because of the windmills installed there.
This along with the possibility of bigger revenue collection for LGUs is advantages of hosting a renewable energy facility, she added. (mbcn/ral/PIA7-Negros /This article was first published at PIA Website on June 18, 2015)