Power firm shows how to go green, save, earn

By Jose Santino S. Bunachita |September 10,2018 - 10:23 PM

Businesses and house owners that use solar power can tie up with Visayan Electric Co. as an alternative way to earn while going green.
CONTRIBUTED PHOTO

NET METERING PROGRAM

There has been a growing awareness among businesses and even households on the significance of going green in terms of power consumption.

While bigger players in the power generation sector have ventured into massive renewable energy projects, the small and medium businesses have also started investing in their own small-scale green energy systems – the most common of which is solar power.

Buildings with wide rooftops can easily be a site for a solar panel system that can harness the power of the sunlight to generate electricity for their own consumption.

Seeing this trend, the Visayan Electric Company (VECO) is urging their customers to enroll in their Net Metering program wherein customers can also sell their excess power to the VECO for a price.

“We are encouraging those who already have solar technology in their homes to enroll in the VECO Net Metering program. This way we can install the correct metering system and they get to earn more from selling the excess power generated from their system,” said VECO Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari Perdices.

Under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, Net Metering allows customers of distribution utilities (DUs) like VECO to install a renewable energy (RE) facility that does not exceed 100 kilowatts (kW) in capacity so they can generate electricity for their own use.

Electricity generated but not consumed by the customer will be automatically exported to the distribution system of the DU.

On the other hand, the DU will give a peso credit for the excess electricity received equivalent to the DU’s blended generated cost, excluding other generation adjustments.

The credits earned by the customer is then deducted from their electric bill.

The VECO Net Metering Program uses bi-directional metering system that records the power that a customer buys from VECO as well as the solar power that the customer sells to VECO.

VECO started offering net metering in 2013 with only one customer.

Now, they already have 79 net metering customers with a total capacity of 593 kW.

Among their customers is Odysseus Suarez Wedding Rings which spends a big part of their operating expenses for the electricity in their office building which also houses their jewelry workshop.

The company signed up for VECO’s Net Metering program in 2016.

Since then, their spending for electricity has significantly lowered, according to its owner Odysseus Suarez.

“Net metering is perfect for businesses like mine that have a high power requirement during day time. Because of the program, we use renewable energy, save on our electricity costs and I get to give back whatever savings to my employees,” he said in a press release by VECO.The company has installed a 30 kW solar facility in their building.

Another customer of the program is Tony Lozada who signed up in 2015 for their home.

“I am a believer of solar energy use since a long time ago. In fact, when this house was built 18 years ago, energy-efficient facilities have already been incorporated. We have a heater and we use solar energy to power it,” Lozada shared.

When he was introduced to VECO’s net metering program, Lozada said he immediately signed up.

In order for a customer to be able to sign up for the program, VECO requires them to already have a solar facility installed in their building or house. This usually entails a significant investment but both Suarez and Lozada said their investments have been worth it.

For Lozada, he said he had to give up an unused service car to buy a solar facility with a 1.5 kW capacity. He said it has been a good decision as it has helped them lower their electric bills by 30 to 40 percent.

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