SM recognized for first solar mall

By , on November 25, 2014

Facade of SM City North Edsa / Wikipedia Photo
Facade of SM City North Edsa / Wikipedia Photo

MANILA – SM Supermalls was recognized by no less than President Benigno Aquino on Tuesday for having its first solar powered mall.

The President led the “switch-on” of SM North EDSA. The said mall has a capacity of producing 1.5 megawatts of electricity. With this, SM North EDSA is now hailed as the world’s largest solar-powered mall.

“The system we have just launched is even bigger, with 5,760 solar panels… expected to generate 1.5 (MWs) of solar energy, which I’m told can cover five percent of this mall’s average consumption per day,” said Aquino.

The President shared that this event marks another milestone for SM as it was able to energize its branch in China last year with 1.1 MW of solar energy through the use of 3,740 solar panels.

“Given the amount of energy that the mall requires to run, such a percentage will generate savings of above P2 million a month,” said Aquino. “This is significant, in light of the challenges that will confront our energy sector in the near future. Most of you may be aware of current projections: If we do not adjust accordingly, Luzon might experience a shortage of a minimum of around 300 megawatts, to a maximum of 1,000 megawatts, next summer.”

He added, “This is not a challenge the national government can overcome alone, which is why we are working with all sectors to address this issue.”

For this project, SM Prime Holdings Inc. tapped Solar Philippines in the installation of 5,760 solar panels and 60 inverters for the mall.

According to SM, the facility would like up 16,000 lighting fixtures and operate 59 escalators and 20 elevators inside the mall.

“SM Prime is constantly in pursuit of the highest level of operational efficiency to significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions and operating costs by minimizing electricity consumption,” said the retail and property giant in a statement.

It added, “In line with this, strong emphasis is put in investing in the latest innovations in sustainable and energy-efficient technology.”

The company hopes that the project will serve as an inspiration for other commercial and industrial establishments to follow suit.

“Solar has gained the reputation of being expensive, not because of the technology, but because previous efforts were too small to benefit from economies of scale. By building the country’s largest projects, we’ve become the first local company to make solar cost-competitive with fossil fuel,” said Leandro Leviste, president of Solar Philippines.

The President said that he looks forward to similar projects at SM Dasmariñas and Mall of Asia as said by the company.

“Of course, it is my hope that you do not stop there: that, eventually, every building that boasts an SM logo will have the same kind of solar facilities,” said Aquino.

He added, “These are the kinds of decisions that show your corporation’s awareness of its responsibility to the environment and the society in which it operates.”

Other executives who graced the event include Speaker Feliciano Belmonte Jr., Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla, Quezon City Mayor Herbert Bautista, Vice Mayor Joy Belmonte and SM Prime Holdings president Hans Sy.