SHIFTING TRENDS… HOME SWEET SOLAR HOME
July 27, 2015
New technologies could foster odd complexities … and in energy, they set a trans-formative phase not only at power utilities but also in the confines of everyone’s home. Solar technology for one has been breaking grounds and that is up into the level of home fighting fixtures. In essence that could be a ‘wrist slap’ on traditional power utilities thus, technology trailblazers are confronted with the toughest challenge of proving its viability as well as service efficiency. Add that to the desire of the growing segment of the global population on having their contribution to making planet Earth a better place to live in… and, what could be a sweeter way than to start it at everyone’s household. Experts would reckon that solar is a ‘green energy solution’ … an innovative technology that could be an anti-thesis to those with heat trapping emissions that had been worsening global warming dilemmas. Breaking paths with low-cost housing In the Philippines, Enfinity Imperial Solar Homes Corporation (IHC), a Filipino-Belgian joint venture firm is braving that dynamic switch into solar homes- initially via their 1,000 unit Via Verde low cost housing project in Sto. Tomas Batangas. To this date, there is still aversion that solar homes would only come at exorbitant costs. In fact, many of the first installations of solar homes in the country are found at the enclaves of posh and exclusive villages. Now, here comes the reserve track. IHC’s concept and fearless experiment is to do with low cost housing. Their initial roll-out will be for the three hectare Via Verde housing project which will be of 1,000 units of mixed row and two- bedroom townhouses. Emma Imperial, IHC chairman and group chief executive, believes that solar homes would be able to thrive even in lower cost segments of housing developments. Their service offer will be a ’24-hour solar powered solution” for the Via Verde housing project. The project was launched in January this year and it could be the company’s showcase venture that it intends to replicate in other areas – including the recently launched using development foray in the Bicol region. The company is offering a package deemed affordable in their targeted unit buyers- and the ‘scar solution’ will be a service tucked in the costs that they will pay throughout their amortization period. Imperial notes that their goal is not just to offer environment-friendly solution, but also to ensure that the service will bring eventual cost savings to the consumers. She expounded that 500- watt solar panels will be installed in every unit for free “to allow buyers to enjoy lower electricity rate through the lease-back program” that Imperial Homes bad designed with Belgian firm partner Enfinity. Now Via Verde home buyers may also opt. for an upgrade with 1,000- watt solar solution being offered- this can produce electricity of 4.0 kilowatt hours per day. Technology coupling with battery Following the lift side in solar technology costs, the only other ‘downside’ being addressed in solar solution is its energy generation intermittency. But the answer to that now is also now knocking at every consumer’s door -with the promise of the battery energy storage system. That too will become a fixture in the solar homes being developed by the IHC group – hence, ensuring that the end-user’s expectations of 24-hour electricity service will be met. The battery comes with a warranty provision and the ‘solar homes buyers’ will also be apprised and trained accordingly as to how the system will operate. For the upgraded solar home system, IHC has noted that the power output “Can supply one refrigerator, two electric fans, a television set, two chargers or laptops, three led lights, a washing machine and a rice cooker.” Imperial has enthused that “solar solutions provide savings in money for the homeowner solar user with lower electricity cost.” The initial estimate would be at least Php 1.00 per kilowatt hour (kWh) lower than the blended rate offer of a major franchised distribution utility. Double ‘missions’ Solar, the IHC executive qualified further,”has lower fuel consumption thus, lower carbon emission that is not only good for the economy but for the environment.” Caring for the environment is a side mission that IHC is intending to carry on its shoulders while also helping the country address some 3.0 million backing in low-cost housing. “if more developers will be passionate in maximizing the sun power by incorporating power solutions in addressing the country’s housing backlog.our dream of making the Philippines the Solar Star of Asia is not far from reality.” Ms Imperial said. If it is any affirmation of initial successes on breaking market dynamics. Ms. Imperial counted the growing support of financial institutions as value added developments that could lay down the long-term success of solar-powered homes. “IHC hopes to make the 24-hour solar power solution available and affordable to many Filipino families through loan facilities from home financing institutions like Pag-Ibig and Bank of the Philippine Islands.” she added. Ms. Imperial further noted that “Pag-Ibig is now extending their home improvement loan for IHC-Enfinity’s solar equipment,” qualifying that “those who wish to avail can apply for loan facilities at very convenient terms.” To date, the IHC’s solar powered housing venture is the first recipient of the Edge Certificate being bestowed by the World Bank Group, which is the equivalent of “Green Building Certification” for emerging economies.
By MRYNA M.VELASCO