THE Visayan Electric Company (Veco) is urging consumers to invest in solar power generation and reduce power use at home.

Solar energy is one of the renewable energy sources which the Department of Energy (DOE) is mandated to promote and implement under the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 to reduce pollution cause by coal-fired power plants.

Veco chief executive officer Sebastian Lacson, speaking during the Cebu Unplugged: Energy Forum, said they’ve tied up with Solar Enfinity of Europe.

Lacson said a consumer who invests in solar energy will become a producer of power with a maximum limit of 1,000 watts. If the consumer uses less than the maximum limit, Veco will pay for the difference.

The solar package deal costs P250,000. The consumer can recover the amount in seven to eight years. Beyond that, the consumer can earn a profit, he said.

Lacson said Solar Enfinity will install solar panels on the roof of the consumer’s house with a 10-year guarantee.

The solar panels harness free energy from the sun into direct current electricity.

Meanwhile, DOE Undersecretary Raul Aguilos said the government will no longer subsidize power consumers even though the country has one of the highest power rates in Asia.

He said the spirit of the Energy Power Industry Reform Act is privatization of government’s power assets.

Fewer brownouts

“What the government is doing now is to make sure that electricity rate must be dictated by normal market forces,” he said.

During the forum, Veco presented the best practices of SM City Cebu, Cemex (manufacturer of Apo cement in the City of Naga) and Marco Polo Plaza in energy conservation.

Engineer Lyndon Jay-me, Veco assistant vice president for economic development and electricity pricing, said the Interruptible Load Program (ILP) has helped minimize power outage when power supply in Cebu cannot meet demand.

Under the ILP, Jayme said big customers like SM, Cemex and Marco Polo have agreed to de-load from Veco (full or partial), upon Veco’s request, to prevent brownouts.

He said consumers have the option to self-generate power or not.

If a consumer operates a generator to produce power, Veco will pay for the cost of fuel. (EOB)