A History of Solar Power in the Philippines
Since the discovery of the solar photovoltaic effect in 1932, solar energy technology has developed rapidly. In less than 100 years, it has become a tested, trusted, and near perfect science that only grows better through the advancements made by researchers. The United States began selling the technology in 1955, and in that same decade, the first solar panel installations were made, many of which are still functioning and producing power today.
In the Philippines, solar power was first developed in the 1980s, around the time that the country was experiencing frequent blackouts. During this decade a combination of political unrest and government instability made the provision of electricity to many parts of the country, including large metropolitan areas, unsteady. Blackouts would occur for hours, sometimes whole days.
The trend of frequent blackouts continued into the early 1990s, which is what prompted the founding of companies like Equator Energy Corp. (EEC), which focused on solar power. At the time, however, no concrete systems were set in place with regard to connecting to the distribution utility (DU), which sometimes meant choosing to go solar meant choosing to go off the grid, a difficult decision for many homeowners and business owners to make, especially since at the time the technology was quite expensive.
Today, just two decades later, solar power is a growing market in the Philippines. In the last three years alone, several solar farms were installed in various parts of the country, and many shopping centers invested in solar panel installations on their roofs. The country is still home to the largest solar powered mall in the world. In 2014 the title belonged to SM North EDSA in Manila, and in 2016 the title belonged to Robinsons Starmills in Pampanga.
Over the years, the technology has not only gotten better, but it has also become cheaper. The industry has grown well enough that more than a handful of solar power companies are pushing for the technology to be widely used in every industry. Many businesses that own warehouses, cold storage facilities, manufacturing facilities, and commissaries have switched to solar, along with many schools and residences.
The Philippine government has also responded favourably, passing and enacting laws that support clean and renewable energy generation, and connection to DUs, so as to make the choice to go solar easier for both businesses and individuals. One of the most recent laws was the Green Energy Option, which allows end-users to choose renewable energy sources through their DU.