Solar panels made in PH, among best in the world

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RIVERSIDE—According to SolarMax Technology Inc., the solar panels made in the Philippines are among the best in the world.

SolarMax officials revealed this to Philippine Consul General (ConGen) Ma. Hellen Barber-De La Vega during her visit to the company’s headquarters in Rivierside on Friday, August 9.

SolarMax is a solar panel power systems company established in 2008 by David Hsu, Ching Liu, and Simon Yuan. The company sells, finances, and installs solar power systems for commercial and residential markets.

According to SolarMax Sales Director Michael Valencia, SunPower, a US brand that manufactures its solar panels in the Philippines, produces one of the most efficient solar panels in the world.

The solar panels made in the Philippines boast efficiency ratings of as much as 21 percent, as compared to the 15 percent industry norm, Valencia said.

Valencia attributed SolarMax’s healthy and aggressive growth over recent years to their partnership with SunPower and their Philippine-made solar panels that are imported into the US.

“They’re probably the biggest reason that we’ve expanded so much,” Valencia said of SunPower during a private tour of SolarMax’s 265,000 square-foot facility near downtown Riverside.

According to SolarMax’s Fil-Am Division Manager Jun Quinto, SolarMax is the premiere dealer of the Philippine-made SunPower panels in the US, accounting for nearly two-thirds of the company’s installations of an average 150 homes per month. Quinto added that SolarMax also produces their own solar systems, making them competitive enough to be California’s leading solar systems company.

One of ConGen De La Vega’s observations during her visit focused on the positive environmental benefits that come from solar power systems.

“People just have to think outside of the box, and understand really that there are new forms of renewable energy that’s clean, green, and neat,” the ConGen said.

“We, the Philippines, have industries and people that are competitive,” De La Vega observed. “The solar panels from the Philippines [are] the best and most efficient in the world.”

During summer seasons, heat waves causes many Californians to consume more energy when they use their air-conditioners and other similar appliances. This uptick in consumption, in turn, causes stress on the power grid.

However, Valencia pointed out that houses with solar panel systems actually relieve stress from the systems by “overproducing” solar energy that is not consumed at home. This “surplus” energy goes back into the power grid and offsets the demand in other areas.

In this scenario, solar panel-equipped homes become “micro-producers” in California’s power grid. And by being micro-producers, homeowners’ electric bills would actually cost less because they are not fully dependent on the grid for their power.

“We are here to help our Fil-Ams in reducing their ever-escalating electric bill up to 100 percent,” Quinto said.

“Our Fil-Am team will give you a free energy analysis and consultation; provide the best system to offset your bill with affordable “kababayan” terms,” Quinto said.

The Fil-Am division manager ensured that Pinoys will enjoy SolarMax’s friendly customer service and unwavering commitment to customer satisfaction.

ConGen lauds trade relations with PH

Another purpose of De La Vega’s visit to SolarMax was to establish a positive working relationship with the company that provides economic opportunities to the Motherland. SolarMax, through their partner company SunPower, employs thousands of Filipinos in the Philippines in the manufacturing arm of the business.

According to SolarMax Fil-Am Branch Manger Jun Quinto, SunPower is in partnership with the Lopez family, the preeminent name in the Philippine energy industry.

According to De La Vega, SolarMax stands much to gain in using the Philippines as a platform or launchpad in branching out to other Asian markets, and vise-versa.

Under the ASEAN free trade agreement, a company that manufactures or produces 40 percent or more of its products in two or more ASIAN countries, then it is granted certain discounts in taxes and duties when they ship their products within the region.

Conversely, if SolarMax takes advantage of these provisions in the free-trade agreement, the entire Philippines can also benefit from the greater employment opportunities that this arrangement can provide.

After the HQ visit, the Consulate delegation, as well as some members of the Fil-Am media, were treated to a hearty lunch at Mission Inn Hotel in downtown Riverside.

After lunch, De La Vega clarified that both the Philippine government and SolarMax are still in the exploratory stages of a possible partnership between both entities. She nevertheless applauded SolarMax for “planting the seeds” to this relationship by importing Philippine-made panels, and providing employment for Filipinos.

“Of course, there are challenges in other aspects of the relations. But at the end of the day, it’s how we are able [to benefit] from partnerships together for the benefit of the people,” De La Vega pointed out.

The ConGen said that in pursuing a strong relationship with SolarMax in the field of renewable energy, the Philippines not only protects the environment, but also takes a step towards cheaper electricity costs.

David Hsu, SolarMax CEO, said that he was very excited about the visit of ConGen De La Vega. Hsu said that his company looks to further educate Fil-Ams in Southern California about how solar power is the future of renewable energy, and how it can save Pinoys so much money on their electric bills.

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