Japanese firm sees potential for solar lighting in Cebu

AMID an increasing appreciation for renewable energy use in the country, a Japanese firm sees the Philippines as a major growth area for solar power investments.

Masato Nishimayama of the Again Group opened in September 2015 the Again Philippines Information (API) Co, Ltd., the distributor of Japanese technology solar lighting systems of the Again Group, serving as an expansion to their existing solar technology manufacturing businesses in Japan, Korea, and UAE.

While a new player in the country, the Japanese investor sees huge potential in the solar lighting system business, given the Philippines’ tropical climate and increasing appreciation for and use of renewable energy, especially solar, among households and establishments.

The company started in Cebu for its first Philippine office, specifically in Lapu-Lapu City, but it is also slated to open offices in Metro Manila by next year.
In its first year in Cebu, API president Elenita S. Ompad said they have already installed solar panels and solar lighting sytems in factories, offices, hotels, as well as in subdivisions. The company has also built a network of 12 dealers in the Visayas and Mindanao.

It will be an aggressive Philippine expansion, said Ompad. API is also in the process of closing a multi-million peso deal with a local client for a solar farm business.

To expand solar energy use in residential areas, Ompad noted that the government needs to provide loan systems that would make the purchase of solar lighting technology more affordable.

Loan facility

Currently, a 250-watt solar panel from API would cost P45,000, ideal for residential use. Ompad said this can save homeowners up to P2,000 on electricity bills every month.

Although the API official acknowledged that the Home Development Mutual Fund (Pag-IBIG) offers green technology loans, their interest rates are not that “friendly” yet.

Meanwhile, the Development Bank of the Philippines (DBP) also offers green technology loans but this is catered to large establishments, she added.

On their end, Ompad said they offer affordable payment options to their clients for up to six months or they can help coordinate with the banks like Metrobank, Bank of the Philippine Islands (BPI), and RCBC for a loan since API has an existing arrangement with these banks for solar lighting system loans.

Aside from the economical benefits of using renewable energy like solar, API maintains that this is also about being responsible to the environment.
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