Solar Energy in the Philippines

Roland Centeno
December 17, 2018

Submitted as coursework for PH240, Stanford University, Fall 2018


Fig. 1: Picture of Solar Panels. (Source: Wikimedia Commons)

As nations worldwide look to alternate forms of energy production, renewable energy continues to grow as an increasingly present subset of energy sources. Among these alternatives to traditional fossil fuels is solar energy, which represents a relatively small, though still significant portion of the growing amount of renewable energy production. [1] Solar power uses solar panels (see Fig. 1) to convert the sunlight into usable energy. Due to its geographical location as well as several other key features, the Philippines, located in Southeast Asia, is an excellent site for increased integration of solar energy. In recent years the Philippines has begun to integrate solar energy production to positive results.

The Need for Increased Energy Production

There are several key factors that necessitate the Philippines's need for alternate energy sources, and make solar an excellent choice. According to a paper published in 2018, the Philippines has experienced an average annual gross domestic product increase of 5.4% in the past few years, and this growth is projected to reach 7% by 2040. It goes on to say that this GDP growth will drive a growth within energy demand. [1] In its current state, the Philippines has a strong reliance on fossil fuels to meet its energy demand, with about 77% of its power sector relying upon this source. The use of these fossil fuels has led to an increase in greenhouse gas emissions prompting a negative environmental impact. [1] A transition to a renewable energy source such as solar would reduce this negative effect on the environment. Finally, the Philippines has experienced frequent electricity outages in certain areas, particularly during summer months, since the 1990s. Furthermore, energy demand increased from 25.6 GWh in 1990 to 77.3 GWh in 2014. With energy demand to double from its 2013 amount by 2040, power outages are likely to increase as well. Renewable energy sources like solar could increase energy production and prevent these outages moving forward. [1]

Solar Energy Potential in the Philippines

From a geographic standpoint, the Philippines is a strong candidate for the solar power implementation. According to a study conducted by the Nation Renewable Energy Laboratory, the Philippines has an average solar energy potential of 4.5 kWh/m2 per day throughout the country. Due to the amount of sunlight that the Philippines is exposed to throughout the country, developing solar plants is a good choice in terms of developing alternate energy solutions. [2]

Growth in Solar in Recent Years

The Filipino government has made a significant attempt in terms of encouraging the implementation of solar power within the country. In 2008, RA9513 was enacted, which contained several policies that promoted renewable energy development. It implemented a feed in tariff as well as offered commercial incentives toward companies to encourage them to implement renewable energy, most notably tax exemptions. These policy changes have provided strong encouragement for Filipino companies to look toward solar. [3]


As a rapidly growing nation with rapidly growing power needs to match, the Philippines needs to search for ways to meet this demand. Because of several key benefits that solar energy possesses, it provides a valid solution to the increasing energy needs of the country. The Philippines has enacted legislature in recent years to encourage solar energy as an option, and this action has already proven to be useful in meeting the country's energy needs. Moving forward, it makes sense for the country to continue along this path, as continued investments in solar will continue to benefit the country and help meet its energy needs.

© Roland Centeno. The author warrants that the work is the author's own and that Stanford University provided no input other than typesetting and referencing guidelines. The author grants permission to copy, distribute and display this work in unaltered form, with attribution to the author, for noncommercial purposes only. All other rights, including commercial rights, are reserved to the author.


[1] M. A. H. Mondal et al., "The Philippines Energy Future and Low-Carbon Development Strategies," Energy 147, 142 (2018).

[2] C. D. Barley et al., "Feasibility of Hybrid Retrofits to Off-Grid Diesel Power Plants in the Philippines," U.S. National Renewable Energy Laboratory, NREL/CP-500-26927, August 1999.

[3] F. S. Peñarroyo, "Renewable Energy Act of 2008: Legal and Fiscal Implications to Philippine Geothermal Exploration and Development," Proceedings World Geothermal Congress, April 2010.