Go solar, Villanueva tells gov't

Senator Joel Villanueva on Monday called on the government to use solar power systems instead to cut down on electricity expenses.

Villlanueva made his appeal after noting a big jump in the government's electricity bill, from P34.58 billion in 2017 to P40.06 billion in 2019.

According to the lawmaker, the P5.5 billion increase in the government's bill in just two years "should jolt us into finding cheap and clean energy sources."

As a tropical country, Villanueva said the government can utilize solar power since "there is more sun in the Philippines." Citing a report from the Department of Energy (DOE), the senator said the average solar radiation ranges from 128 to 203 watts per square meter, which is equivalent to a potential power generating capacity of 4.5 to 5.5 kWh per square meter daily.

"Going solar will spare the country from oil price shocks, like the one triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine," the senator added.

Villanueva said the government should invest in solar power, which he tagged as "the low hanging fruit that yields high returns."

He also suggested that schools be considered as pilot beneficiaries of the government's move to resort to solar energy.

"This will hit many birds with one stone. First, it can power science and tech-voc equipment. Second, it can serve as a hands-on science laboratory. Third, it can create community employment. Fourth, it is a model that shows how solar power works," Villanueva said.

As a chairperson of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment, and Human Resource Management, Villanueva also believed that thousands of jobs will be created through solar powered projects.

"This could be part of the government’s employment recovery plan to recuperate from the effects of the pandemic," he added.