The price of solar panel installation in the Philippines has gone down over the years and continues to decrease. While getting solar has become much more affordable, several different factors still determine the eventual upfront price of a solar panel installation. Initial costs and the type of solar panel used can vary from roof to roof. Solar companies in the Philippines also have different prices and packages for a full solar PV system installation.
Factors that affect the Solar Panel Installation Price
In the Philippines, there are 2 types of solar panel systems: grid-tied and hybrid. Grid-tied solar setups don’t come with a solar battery and your home will tap on the grid for energy when your system is not generating electricity — at night or on very cloudy days.
On the other hand, hybrid systems include a solar battery that stores excess electricity generated by your system. Such systems are generally more expensive as you’ll also have to factor in the cost of the solar battery. While grid-tied systems make up the majority of existing solar panel setups in the Philippines, around 3 in 10 solar homes have hybrid systems.
In this article, we’ll focus only on the cost of grid-tied solar panel installations without solar batteries!
To start off, let’s address the most common factors that can affect your grid-tied solar installation cost.
Size of the System
The size of your solar panel system will be limited by the available installable area on your roof. It also depends on how much solar electricity you want the system to generate. To maximize your potential savings from your solar PV system, we recommend calculating your average monthly electricity consumption based on your utility bills from at least the past 3 months.
Since solar panels generate electricity during the day, one great way to get the greatest cost savings out of your solar panel system would be to optimize its size to meet your daytime energy needs.
Note: Many households are using more electricity than usual as most people are working from home during the pandemic. So, it might also be worthwhile to compare your electricity bills from before the pandemic to get a better sense of your average energy consumption.
Bonus Tip: In 2019, an amendment to the Net Metering Program was introduced by the Energy Regulatory Commission (ERC). You’ll now be able to enjoy lifeline rate subsidies on your electricity bill if your home consumes less energy. With this program in place, you can also consider equipping your roof with as many solar panels as it can fit — even if you won’t consume all the solar electricity generated during the day. Using energy generated by your solar panel setup when there is sunlight will mean that your house will draw less energy from the grid. This lowers your overall household energy consumption and will help you get more energy subsidies and significantly reduce your monthly electric bill!
Roof Pitch, Type, and Material
Solar panels can be installed on almost all rooftops. Even so, your roof’s material and type will determine the type of mounting gear needed for your installation and affect solar panel placement. The different types of installations generally equate to different costs. For reference, in the Philippines, the most popular types of roofing are metal, tiled, and wood roofs.
Along with roof type, roofs without easy accessibility — with a ladder or via a balcony — may also require additional scaffolding. All these considerations may cause the price of your solar panel installation to fluctuate. Here’s a quick preview of solar installations of the various types of roofs and which is the most ideal for a solar setup.
Metal roofing (trapezoidal): Trapezoidal metal roofs are one of the best roof types for solar installations. The installation process is minimally invasive. Small mounting brackets are drilled onto the trapezoidal protrusion of your roof for the solar modules to be mounted and clamped to. The spaces in between the trapezoidal peaks also allow for rainwater to flow through easily preventing water collection. This simple installation process ensures that prices are kept low. It also allows you to easily remove your solar panels from your roof in the future if you need to do so.
Metal roofing (corrugated): Solar installation on corrugated metal roofs is more complicated. The process usually requires solar installers to build a mounting rack to ensure that your solar panels are angled in the right direction for optimum performance, properly ventilated, and stably secured. This procedure requires more manpower and can generally cost you a little more than a metal trapezoidal roof installation.
Tiled roofing: This type of solar installation is a 2-step process. Roof tiles are usually first removed for the installation of a mounting frame before they are returned to their original spots. Your solar panels are then attached to the mounting frame. Drilling is generally required to make sure that the mounting frame is well secured. More work is needed in a type of solar panel installation and this can add to costs.
Wooden roofing (truss): Installing solar on wood truss roofing is not recommended. The brittle nature of this type of roofing makes it susceptible to breakage under the weight of your solar setup. A solar installation on a wooden roof can also be a fire hazard. That said, with added care on the part of your solar installer, solar installations on wooden truss roofs can still be possible. Be that as it may, the difficulty and extra precautions needed for this type of installation will definitely result in much higher costs.
Note: Steep roofs will generally require a longer installation process. In these special cases, installers have to be a lot more careful to ensure that your solar panels are safely and securely fixed onto your rooftop. Extra manpower is also often necessary for steep pitches and this can incur added labor costs and a higher overall solar panel installation price.
Type of Solar Panel
When it comes to the price of solar modules, there are 2 important considerations — the type of technology and brand. The 3 most common types of solar panel technologies are Monocrystalline, Polycrystalline, and Thin Film. Each type of solar panel has its advantages and limitations. That said, monocrystalline solar panels are currently the most frequently selected for residential solar installations because they are space-efficient and have the highest efficiency.
In terms of panel brands, most solar installers in the Philippines will recommend ones made by “Tier 1” solar panel manufacturers. This tiering system was introduced by the Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) as a measure of a manufacturer’s reliability and consistency. Among “Tier 1” solar panels, there are also slight price differences. These depend on where the solar panels are manufactured, their efficiency, and warranty durations. The most popular solar panel brands in the Philippines are Trina, Hanhwa, JA Solar, and REC.
Overall Solar Panel Price Estimates
To help you make a better solar decision, here’s an estimate of the standard grid-tied system prices for landed homes in the Philippines. Don’t forget that installation costs are also affected by the factors mentioned above.
Philippines? The price is generally determined by your house, roof, and solar system size. This can range from as low a So, what is the price of a grid-tied solar panel installation in the Philippines? The price is generally determined by your house, roof, and solar system size. This can range from as low as ₱160,000 to ₱900,000.
Small Affordable Houses (₱400,000≤): Most commonly, a solar PV system for affordable houses includes 5 solar panels equating to a 2kWp system. The installation area would be around 12m2. The estimated cost of your solar panel system would be around ₱80,000 and will be sufficient for a small home that consumes 224kWh of electricity per month.
Medium-cost Houses: For medium-cost houses, you’ll often install approximately 10 solar panels — a 4kWp system — that’ll be enough to cover an average monthly energy consumption of 448kWh. The system with an installation area of 17m2 will add up to cost around ₱320,000.
Large High-cost Houses: Rooftop solar systems for high-cost houses vary broadly. An average system would include around 38 solar panels (15kWp) with an installation area of 86m2. This will cost around ₱900,000 because of the higher number of panels and larger installation area. For extremely large houses, an installation can go up to 75 solar panels (30kWp) and cost ₱1,800,000.
Other Solar Panel System Price Considerations in the Philippines
Solar modules generally come with a 25 to 30-year warranty, while inverters commonly have a 5 or 10-year warranty. Both warranties cover the replacement of any physical equipment defects. Many solar installers also provide limited complimentary maintenance periods. That said, most installers don’t offer free lifetime solar maintenance as most solar PV systems can last for at least 25 years. This would mean that if your panels require replacing within the product warranty period, you might still need to pay maintenance fees.
Solar system maintenance charges per visit in the Philippines vary depending on system size — the average price is around ₱2,500. During the visit, your solar installer will wash your solar modules and conduct checks on your inverters and breakers. While most property owners only schedule maintenance once every 2 to 3 years, we highly recommend maintaining your system once a year to ensure that it stays in tip-top condition.
Bonus Tip: Almost all solar PV systems come with a free online monitoring platform or mobile app nowadays. The monitoring platform allows you and your installer to track the performance and efficiency of your solar panel system. Checking up on your system regularly and solving issues the moment they come up can help reduce the chances of long-term damage to your solar setup. This can cut down unnecessary expenditure in the future.
Waterproofing or Reroofing
While uncommon, water intrusion is a risk that can occur after installing your solar panel system.
Do note that waterproofing procedures are generally not immediately necessary and can add to your budget. Solar installers also usually take preventive measures against leakages. Metal roof installations are also largely non-intrusive and high-grade sealant is usually used in wooden roof installations to prevent leaks.
As for tiled roofs, drilled holes during an installation can sometimes result in rainwater accumulation that can cause leakages.
If your roof is relatively old or poorly maintained, you might want to consider waterproofing your roof before installing solar. Your solar panels are likely to sit on your roof for the next 25 years after all and preventive waterproofing will be worth the while.
Solar AI Technologies wants to thank David Ramirez and Enfinity Imperial Solar Solutions Inc. Philippines for their contributions to this article.