Group proposes maximizing solar to offset summer power rate hikes

FREEPIK

By Sheldeen Joy Talavera, Reporter

POWER RATES are likely to increase this summer season as demand rises, said the Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement, Inc., suggesting building up more renewables, especially solar energy, to meet the demand.

“Historically, during summer months, especially during times when supply is short, the power rates always go up,” Jose M. Layug, Jr., president of the Developers of Renewable Energy for Advancement, said via phone call.

He said that “it would help if we have a lot of solar” to add more capacity that will provide power supply.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (PAG-ASA) declared the official start of the dry and warm season in the country last week.

“In the coming months, the number of dry and warm days across the country will continue to increase, although isolated thunderstorms are also likely to occur, usually in the afternoon or evening,” PAGASA said in a statement.

Mr. Layug said that building more renewables, which are now “cheaper,” may help increase supply.

As of November 2023, data from the Department of Energy showed that solar energy accounted for 19% of the total installed capacity connected to the grid.

Terry L. Ridon, a public investment analyst and convenor of think tank InfraWatch PH, said that distribution utilities and electric cooperatives may have to rely more heavily on the spot market to fulfill electricity demand.

“With the summer months, we are expecting higher electricity prices due to a greater demand for cooling in homes, offices and commercial establishments,” he said in a Viber message.

Meanwhile, Bienvenido S. Oplas, Jr., president of the free market think tank Minimal Government Thinkers, foresees a decrease in power rates in April and May due to the resumption of coal power plants that underwent maintenance shutdown.

“Coal is ready during summer because their maintenance shutdown are generally scheduled on rainy months where hydro output is high,” he said in a Viber message.