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January 16, 2015

Real- estate developer Imperial Homes Corp.(IHC) officially launched its solar-powered mas-housing community project here- the first of its kind in the Philippines. Emma Imperial, IHC chairman, president and CEO, told the Business Mirror at the sidelines of the inaugural ceremony on Wednesday that each of the 1,000 housing units of Via Verde are instaled with 500-watt solar panels for free to allow home buyers to enjoy lower electricity rates through the lease-back program of their partner firm, Enfinity. She said the project aims to address the country’s backlog on mass housing currently pegged at 3 million, as well as help provide a greener solution against the worsening effects of climate change. “I’ve been 31 years in the business. I’ve built 15,000 homes, and this is my first solar-powered community. I thought of it four years ago [when] I started looking at solar solutions for my low-cost [housing projects],” she said. “I beieve that if you have the numbers and volume of houses, you can create a mega-watt project,” she said. IHC invested around P600 million of assets for via Verde, which is expected to be completed in 12 to 18 months. This pioneering solar-powered community is located in more than a 3-hectare property, featuring row houses and two-bedroom townhomes. With nou-front cost on the part of the home buyers, Enfinity Group will finance the solar panels for all the units, which, based on Pag-IBIG Fund’s appraisal, will cost around P70,000 a piece. The sun-energized homes are seen helpful in reducing the cost of electricity, at least 10 percent to 20 percent lower than Meralco rate, according to the top executive. Collectively, she said, IHC’s contribution to renewable global efforts will translate to $1.4 billion in fossil-fuel consumption and 941, 000 tons of carbon-emission elimination annually. Via Verde is anchored on the Tranformation Busines Model presented by Imperial during the World bank Housing Conference in the United States and the International Finance Corp.’s Climate Business Forum in Hong Kong last year. “We’ve been trying to push solar [power] in various homes because it’s difficult to actually install, for example, a 2-kilowatt [solar panel] on a per-household basis. It has to be on a massive scale. And this is the classic example that we have right now,” Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho L. Petilla said. “Hopefully, this will set a trend toward the new kind of housing projects that we will have in the future, whether it is in Batangas or in metro manila,” he said. Any time soon , IHC is expecting Via Verde to receive World Bank’s EDGE Certificate for Green Building. The company is keen on selling solar rights to existing homeowners to increae the number of solar-based users among its projects.