/ 6 April 2022

SENATOR Joel Villanueva urged the government to equip schools and other buildings with solar power systems to save on electricity.

The power savings can be used to educate more students and employ more people, he said.

Villanueva noted the big jump in the government’s electricity bill from P34.58 billion in 2017 to P40.06 billion in 2019.

“To put this in perspective, the P40.06 billion is 21 times bigger than the government’s subsidy to the Philippine Heart Center this year,” he said.

The senator stressed that the P5.5 billion surge in the government’s electricity bill in just two years should prompt it to find cheaper and cleaner energy sources.

As a tropical country, the Philippines is rich in solar power, Villanueva said, citing the Department of Energy’s report that the average solar radiation ranges from 128-203 watts per square meter.

This is equivalent to a potential power generating capacity of 4.5-5.5 kWh per square meter daily, the senator explained.

“Going solar will spare the country from oil price shocks, like the one triggered by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine,” he said.

Tapping this locally abundant clean source of energy will also be the country’s contribution to the global fight against climate change, he added.

He urged the government to invest a fraction of its huge borrowings for big infrastructure projects on solar power.

The chair of the Senate Committee on Labor, Employment and Human Resource Management also said that thousands of jobs will be created by pivoting to solar power.

“A government solar power program will create more jobs for Filipinos. This could be part of the government’s employment recovery plan to recuperate from the effects of the pandemic,” he said.

Villanueva said that schools are ideal candidates for solar installation either on rooftops or on the ground.

“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,” the senator said.