SM takes the first step in eco-friendly shopping

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(L-R) Joy Belmonte Vice Mayor, Quezon City; Herbert Bautista, Mayor, Quezon City; Congressman Francisco “Boy” Calalay Jr. District 1, Quezon City; Feliciano Belmonte, Jr., Speaker, House of Representatives; Jericho L. Petilla, Secretary, Department of Energy; Teresita Sy-Coson, Vice Chairperson, SM Investments Corp.; President Benigno S. Aquino, III; Hans T. Sy, President, SM Prime Holdings, Inc.; Leandro Leviste, President, Solar Philippines; Anna Garcia, President, SM Supermalls; Senator Loren Legarda; Steven Tan, SVP SM Supermalls.

President Benigno S. Aquino III led the launch of SM City North EDSA’s solar rooftop project, so far the biggest solar project in the country this morning.

In his speech, the President commended the country’s biggest retail outlet for its initiatives on environmental protection and energy conservation.

“We are aware that you are no stranger to initiatives like this. From moving to the use of non-chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants to reducing the electricity consumption of 27 malls by 30.6 million kilowatt-hours in the span of a year; from participating in the Interruptible Load Program and helping to free up power when supply is tight, to this solar rooftop project, SM is indeed deservedly becoming recognized for its good practices in energy and the environment,” he said.

The SM North EDSA solar project, powered by 5,760 solar panels installed at the rooftop of the multilevel parking building, is expected to generate 1.5 megawatts of power for the mall’s 16,000 lighting fixtures, 59 escalators, and 20 elevators.

According to www.gov.ph, Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla called it the biggest solar project in the country. The SM Group first launched the solar project in SM Xiamen in China, with 1.1 megawatts solar energy produced by 3,740 panels. President Aquino said that with the project, the mall could save at least P2 million a month in energy expenses. He said the launch of the project is important, considering the looming power crisis next year.

Assuring that the government is doing its best to address the problem, President Aquino reiterated his appeal to Congress for the approval of the joint resolution granting him emergency powers to contract additional power supply.

“We are hopeful that both the House (of Representatives) and the Senate will approve the joint resolution we requested sooner rather than later, in order to give the national government enough time to contract the necessary reserves,” he said.

The solar rooftop project is the brainchild of Senator Loren Legarda’s 21-year-old son, Leandro Leviste.

A graduate of Yale University, Leviste committed to help the government reach its solar installation target of 500 megawatts by 2016, as set by the Department of Energy (DOE).

“Years from now, it will be said that under President Aquino’s term, the Philippines became a global leader in solar power because he had the vision to see that solar is not just a sustainable and clean energy source, but also commercially viable and a decisive solution to the power crisis,” Leviste said in his remarks.

According to SM Supermalls President Annie Garcia, solar panels will also be installed in other SM malls, such as in SM City Dasmariñas in Cavite and in SM City Mall of Asia in Pasay City.

The SM City Dasmariñas will have 3,243 solar panels that are expected to generate 0.8 megawatts of power, while SM City Mall of Asia will have 10,534 solar panels that will generate 2.7 megawatts of power.

The SM Group is one of the private companies that support the DOE’s Interruptible Load Program, which aims to ease the demand for electricity and prevent the projected power crisis in the summer of 2015.

Also present during the event were House Speaker Feliciano Belmonte, Senator Loren Legarda, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, and Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte.

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