THE 100-kilowatt (kW) restriction on solar rooftops should be removed to encourage the installation of more such facilities by homes and businesses to reduce the Philippines’ dependence on imported fuel, Senator Sherwin T. Gatchalian said.

“Rooftops are the new real estate. They cannot install more than 100 kilowatts, for a factory that is small… we need unlock that potential by removing the 100-kW cap. To harness potential of rooftops no matter what the size is, we have to remove that,” Mr. Gatchalian, vice-chairman of the Senate’s energy committee, told reporters on an energy forum last week.

The net metering scheme that makes solar installation attractive is open only to users with up to 100 kW. Net metering allows solar panel owners to feed their excess energy back onto the grid, with their contributions netted out of their power bills.

“What we want is to use the rooftops to generate power so that we reduce our dependence on imported fuel, that is the concept there. Again, we need to make sure there are no disruptions in the grid,” he said.

Mr. Gatchalian said removing the 100-kW limit will encourage more customers to invest in renewable energy.

The Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC) estimates that at the end of 2021, there were 7,583 participants in the net metering scheme — 6,120 in Luzon, 1,168 in the Visayas, and 295 in Mindanao.

The ERC said that the aggressive implementation of the net metering program can help protect customers from rising electricity costs. — Ashley Erika O. Jose