German firms to explore solar power investments in Philippines

At least 10 German firms are coming to the Philippines soon to explore investment opportunities involving renewable energy sources such as solar power and solar energy.

The Philippine Embassy in Berlin said the move is part of a special program being organized by the German Agency for International Cooperation (GIZ).

"The program aims to familiarize them with the potential investment opportunities in the country for renewable energy, specifically on photovoltaic solar power generation," the Department of Foreign Affairs said.

It said Philippine Ambassador Maria Cleofe Natividad took part in a recent workshop on solar energy technologies in Berlin some weeks back.

The GIZ and the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Technology (BMWi) organized the workshop.

When she opened the seminar-workshop, Natividad underscored recent positive developments favoring renewable energy technologies in the Philippines.

Among these are the passage into law of the Renewable Energy Act in 2008. The Philippines is one of the founders of the 2009 International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) in Bonn, and a party to the ratification of the IRENA Statute in May this year.

She said another positive development is the renewed confidence in President Benigno Aquino III’s administration.

The speakers at the workshop included:

– Tetchi Capellan from the Philippine Solar Power Alliance, who gave an overview of the status of solar energy industry in the Philippines

– Dr. Günter Matschuck of the German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI), who presented some business possibilities of on-grid as well as off-grid (decentralized) solar systems in the Philippines

– GIZ Consultant in the Philippines Mr. Markus Dietrich, who talked about business prospects in rural electrification and small scale roof-mounted solar systems

– Nadine Fund of GPCCI, who gave an overview of the Philippines as an export market for Germany

– Mathias Kothe, who discussed his experiences in a joint project between a German developer and Philippine company called CEPALCO.

The DFA said the seminar-workshop is part of the German government’s "Renewables-made in Germany Initiative."

The endeavor aims to facilitate and support business partnerships and technology transfer between Germany and countries in Southeast Asia that are rich in renewable energy sources.

Natividad told the German executives the Philippines aims to provide electricity to 90 percent of all households by 2017.

She said the goal can be achieved only by harnessing solar energy that can reach the most remote communities as traditional transmission systems are viable only in densely populated areas.

In 2010, she said the installed solar power capacity of the Philippines was only 0.01 percent of the total installed capacity nationwide and may appear to be negligible, but stressed there is still a big potential for development and expansion.