Leondro Leviste was still a sophomore at Yale University, age 20 when he begins investing in a U.S. company that specializes in manufacturing solar panels, which is Tesla. Leviste was inspired by Elon Musk’s design for SolarCity, an American company that installs solar panel systems, that’s why he decided to build a company similar to this in the Philippines.
The electricity rates in the Philippines are among the highest in Asia and he believed that solar power could bring it down, so he grabbed this opportunity and went back home to the Philippines and build his own company Solar Philippines.
It was in 2013, Leviste was 23 years old when he became the founder, president, and CEO of Solar Philippines and spent 100 million dollars on bank loans which were possible with the help of his family connections, he also used his profit from his investment in Tesla to support his project. Leviste did all of this to build solar “farms” and rooftop panel systems to provide solar power in the Philippines.
The main reason why he built Solar Philippines was not simply because of wealth, it is because he believed that Filipinos shouldn’t be paying high electricity rates which contributes to the increasing poverty in the Philippines. “Solar has gone down so far in cost it’s even cheaper than coal” according to Leviste, rates for solar energy of the Philippines can go lower than coal, which most electricity provider use, by at least $0.2 because of the country’s sunny weather. The Philippines is known as the country that mostly uses coal as an energy supplier in entire Asia and Solar Philippines’ goal is to stop all these plants and use solar for cleaner and affordable electricity.
His mission was to lower the electricity costs to improve the lives of the Filipinos and he started it by helping large companies to lower their cost, so they can increase the quality of their service or product and the salary of their employees Leviste’s company, Solar Philippines, brought this idea to SM through Mr. Hans Sy, Mr. Sy agreed so Solar Philippines built a partnership with SM.
In 2014, they completed the solar panel rooftop installation of,760 solar panels in SM City North EDSA, and in that time, it was considered the largest solar-powered rooftop installation that is on a mall, not only in the Philippines, it’s the largest in the world! And now, Solar Philippines completed the installation of rooftop solar panels in 8 different branches of SM.
Solar Philippines only started as an installation of solar energy systems on top of a few Manila mega malls and grew into what is now considered as the nation’s #1 and largest solar energy provider in the Philippines. As Leviste’s company continues to grow, he looks forward to the time that every Filipino will benefit from solar energy, whether from their own rooftops or from the electric power grid because of the decreasing cost of solar energy and to a better, cleaner, and greener Philippines. From his inspiration, he believed that someday Solar Philippines will be able to own the same capacity to make solar panels that SolarCity has.