Cebu City eyes using solar power at City Hall

THE Cebu City Government is eyeing the use of solar power in all of its buildings, including City Hall, in a bid to save millions of pesos from electric bills.

Councilor Joel Garganera, committee on energy chairman, told SunStar Cebu on Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2022, that the City spent P230 million in 2021 and P187 million so far this year for its electricity consumption.

For 2023, the City Government has allocated P280 million for its power consumption.

But for Garganera, the City can save up to two-thirds once it adopts solar technology in all of the buildings it owns and maintains.

During the City Council’s executive session on Tuesday, Nov. 22, representatives from the Aboitiz Power Corp., Cebu Private Power Corp. and the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) were invited to discuss the proposed adoption of the Solar Photovoltaic Technology System.

Garganera’s committee selected the technology because it is eco-friendly and economically beneficial.

It will only cost the City between P5 and P10 million to procure the technology that can generate 100 kilowatts of electricity, he said.

According to Garganera, the city government will still employ a hybrid source of energy wherein it will not cut its reliance on electricity from the grid.

The hybrid solar power system will have inverters and batteries that can store five to 10 hours’ worth of electricity, he added.

Aside from the City Hall, the solar panels can also be installed in other city-owned buildings located in different areas like in the South Road Properties and on police stations whose electricity consumption is being subsidized by the City Government.

Garganera further said that the future supplier of the solar power technology still needs to conduct an ocular inspection to determine how many solar panels can be installed.

Burden to the public?

The discussion was only supposed to tackle the renewable energy needs of City Hall, but Garganera said the availability of solar power for the public was also discussed.

However, the councilor said the ERC had imposed a requirement which can be considered as burdensome to the public who want to install their own solar panels.

Aside from their regular electricity meter, the ERC is requiring households to install a separate meter for their solar power generated electricity, said Garganera.

He added that this will discourage the residents from having their own solar power since this will be another cost that they will shoulder.

“If the government is really serious in promoting renewable energy then they should make it easier and affordable,” said Garganera.

Garganera further said that he will pass a resolution in the City Council to ask the ERC to do away with this requirement in installing solar panels in their houses. (IRT)