Meralco is the major, if not the only, supplier of electricity in the Philippines. With the trend today, electricity is slowly rising with consumption going up the roof. It makes sense because people are in their homes because of the pandemic.
As of writing, rates have risen from PHP 9.0036 to PHP 9.1091 per kWh. And it slowly rises every month. According to Statista, a Filipino home consumes 897 kWh on average. So this rate increase means an extra 94 PHP on our bills.
And as we stay longer and longer in our houses, some might think of investment opportunities and upgrades they can do. If you’re like me, you might think of starting with electricity savings. After all, our family is consuming peak energy in our times today.
You can do that with a solar-powered home. You don’t only save the environment. You also get monthly savings on your electric bill. But what does it entail to purchase one?
With that, here’s everything you should know before purchasing a solar power system for your home in the Philippines.
What Kind of Solar Power System Are You Getting?
There are different types of solar power systems. And it will depend on your needs.
- Grid-tied Solar Power System
- Off-Grid Solar Power System
- Hybrid Solar Power System
Grid-tied systems are connected to the Power Grid of Meralco. It uses solar power for daytime. And at night time, it gets power from Meralco’s grid.
On the other hand, off-grid systems rely solely on solar power. It uses batteries to store energy for nighttime use and cloudy days.
Lastly, hybrid systems are still connected to the power grid. But then, when power outages happen, there’s still backup power from the battery. So which do you choose?
Why Choose the Grid-tied Solar Power System?
You might think, what’s the point of having a grid-tied solar power system. It’s still connected to the power grid. With that, you will have no electricity if power outages happen.
Well, the advantage is it’s the least expensive of all the options while still saving money. Technically, you are powering your consumption in the morning, only leaving the evening consumption to Meralco.
And it’s best for areas that do not experience a lot of power outages. After all, why do you need to store electricity when the supply in your area is reliable. You can just use these cost-effective tips when it happens.
Plus, Meralco offers a net-metering program. What this does is any solar power that’s not consumed above 100 kW is bought back by Meralco through bill credits.
So if you have generated 120 kW and only consumed 100 kW, you will have 20 kW worth deducted from your bill. You do have to pay additional fees to be accredited at first. But it’s a worthy investment. Here are the requirements if you’re interested.
Why Choose the Off-Grid Solar Power System?
If you don’t want to rely on the Meralco, the Off-grid solar power system is for you. This system is perfect if you want to save up from all the additional costs passed to you by Meralco, like taxes, transmission charges, and distribution charges. After all, you generate your own power.
It’s also good if the service is not stable in your area. Why bother with sporadic power outages when you harvest your own power?
The downside is weather is unpredictable. If there are continuous cloudy days, you might be left with no power yourself. Also, costs for the equipment will rise around 40-70% compared to grid-tied solar power systems. Plus, you need to change the lithium battery roughly every 2-3 years.
It’s quite costly, but you have self-sustaining power for your home.
Why Choose the Hybrid Solar Power System?
To have the best of both worlds, some opt for a hybrid system. They have a grid-tied solar power system with a backup battery to store energy. It’s perfect just in case of power outages.
So you are saving from consumption in the morning while still enjoying the reliability of Meralco in your area. Plus, you have a backup battery just in case to power your home.
Sometimes, it can even be more reliable when the area has unstable electric service, such as remote areas and provinces. The only downside is the cost. It’s the most expensive of all the choices.
Knowing Your Cost and Cost Savings
Now that you have chosen the solar power system for you, you need to understand the cost and savings based on your power needs.
You can estimate your power consumption based on the average in your Meralco bill. Or you can calculate using the Meralco app (Android only). Here are some estimates of costs and savings for Grid-tied systems.
Take note; not all homes are created equal. There will be differences in power consumption and installation costs, depending on your home. Also, you will have a faster ROI if you opt for net metering with Meralco.
With the 25 years life span plus long warranty of this equipment, you are sure to reap the benefits in the long run. You can get a free quote from reliable solar power companies before you push through.
How to Afford One?
The idea is plausible and all. But not everyone can afford a hefty investment. Luckily, you have options to enjoy the benefits while not breaking the bank. Here are some.
Some companies offer modular installation for solar panels. What that means is you can purchase solar panels that you can afford now. And just add additional panels after.
For example, your monthly bill is at 8,000 PHP. And you can’t afford a 3 kWp system for a 235,000 PHP cash outlay. Then, you can just buy what you can afford now. And then, add additional panels to accommodate your power consumption needs.
Although, this will only make sense for Grid-tied and hybrid systems because you need to generate enough power for your consumption. If it’s lacking, it will certainly be troublesome for your family if you choose an off-grid solar power system.
Loans from Bank and Pag-ibig
If you don’t have enough money or you want lighter payment terms for your investment, you can actually loan from the bank or even Pag-ibig. It makes sense for them because this installation is a home improvement project. And it also raises the value of the property.
If you have the documents and income proof, you can certainly loan the amount for lighter payments. And after a few years, it’s like your electric savings are paying for the loan anyway. Sweet!
What do you think of converting your homes into solar power? Will you jump in this greener option? Comment down below for your thoughts! Cheers!