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Villar Group eyes solar power for malls, housing projects

By Richmond S. Mercurio (The Philippine Star) | Updated November 13, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - The group led by real estate tycoon Manuel B. Villar Jr. is looking to energize its malls and housing projects across the country with solar power, in anticipation of energy-supply problems the Philippines may encounter in the future.

In an interview, Villar said they are looking at utilizing solar energy for their mall and housing projects given the recent drop in the prices of solar panels and the imminent threat of climate change.

“Solar panels for our homes and malls, we’re looking into it seriously. It’s only now that we’re seriously looking into it,” Villar said.

Villar said their group could be a “logical proponent” of solar power in the country with its empire of housing projects and a number of mall developments.

Aside from harnessing the sun’s power for its own operations, Villar said his group is also open to the idea of providing solar power to the grid in the future.

“Initially, we’re looking into our own operations.  As possibly a provider, it might be logical if we see there’s money for us, then we’ll go into it,” he said.

The decline in solar panel costs in recent years has attracted investors, including that of the Villar Group, into venturing in solar power.

The Philippine Solar Power Alliance Inc. (PSPA)  said current panel prices are about three times lower compared to its cost five years ago.

“We’re very happy that panel prices are really dropping very fast,” Villar said.

Villar’s Vista Land, the country’s largest homebuilder, already has residential housing developments in 34 provinces and 74 cities and municipalities around the country. The property firm has completed more than 250,000 housing units in the past 38 years.
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