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Philippines’ regulator opposes net metering expansion


Philippines’ regulator opposes net metering expansion

The Philippines’ Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) has said the removal of the 100 kW cap for solar installations under net metering would be difficult for the nation’s grid to accomodate. Meanwhile, a proposal to raise the treshhold is being discussed in the country’s Senate.

The Department of Energy (DOE) of the Philippines has issued a statement announcing that the country’s Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) is not favorable to the removal of the 100 kW size limit for solar power generators installed under net metering.

This could have an adverse effect on transmission lines, which may not be able to accommodate injections of power beyond that limit, the ERC stated.

The regulator’s head, Sharon O. Montañer also said that, if a bill aimed at removing the above-mentioned cap currently being discussed in the Senate were to pass, a new study on the grid’s ability to absorb new output would be necessary. “With the proposed incentives under the bill, this is expected to result in a drastic increase in solar energy being exported to the grid,” she also said. “A thorough grid, system, and distribution impact study would help determine how much in exported capacities the grid may accept without unduly compromising power supply stability,” Montañer further explained.

The filing of Senate Bill No. 1719 was initiated by Grace Poe. a Filipina senator and businesswoman. “Unlike other power plants, whether fossil-based, hydro, wind or solar farms, rooftop solar does not require land conversions, because it uses what is usually an underutilized and already existing resource – the roof,” she said at a recent hearing at the Senate committee on energy. “Complete solar photovoltaic systems or solar technology can be bought off-the-shelf and could be easily installed in a few hours. Larger systems may take a few days. No other technology, renewable or otherwise, could match the convenient installation attributed to rooftop solar,” Poe also stated.

The Philippines introduced its net metering scheme for solar up to 100 kW in 2014. Ever since, however, only 10 MW of rooftop PV systems have been connected to the country’s grid.

In a recent report, the U.S.-based Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has explained the reasons for this failure. According to the study, regulatory, administrative and financial hurdles are preventing more electricity consumers from installing rooftop arrays, as well as the resistance of local utilities.

The authors of the report also found that the pricing methodology adopted by the ERC has not been improved since 2013. The methodology, based on the amount of electricity exported into the grid, undervalues solar rooftop generation, according to the IEEFA experts, which also stated that the 100 kW limit is now anachronistic.

Source PV Magazine

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