These days, budgeting for electricity can make you cringe. It seems like prices are continuously rising, but you can’t really do away with it as it is a necessity. There are only a few alternative energy sources especially if you live in the city, but there’s one that’s quite accessible as long as you’re willing to invest in it—solar energy.
It’s actually nothing new: In 2018, the Philippines was considered one of the leaders of the technology among developing countries. Solar energy was also what helped power Tacloban during the aftermath of Yolanda, with several companies and institutions offering installations during the city’s rehabilitation. And while it's something that many people have yet to get used to, more and more households are slowly reverting to it as the number of providers start to increase.
One such provider is the Buskowitz Group, a business which initially began as an energy alternative for a family-run resort in Boracay. In an email interview with Female Network, sales executive Jacque Buskowitz explains how they aim to “provide solar energy solutions to individuals and businesses in the Philippines while also offering flexible financing solutions.”
Only in her 20s, Jacque shares that she never really planned to work for the family business. “After I left university, I found myself looking for something to do. I knew I wanted to do something that would help the development of our country, and that’s when I thought I’d apply to my brother’s company.” The experience made her realize that the “improvement-focused culture” is exactly what she wanted and that the sustainable industry is where she wanted to build her career.
Female Network: What’s the best thing that your job has given you?
Jacque Buskowitz: In less than two years, my job has taught me more about myself. Of course, I’ve learned endless things about the environment, business, industry, Filipino culture, business cultures, leadership and corporate etiquette, but the most impactful lessons I learned—and I’m continuing to learn—are my strengths and weaknesses. Knowing myself better helps shape my goals, both for my career and my personal life.
FN: What was the biggest hurdle you had to face in your career, and how did you deal with it?
JB: I unfortunately don’t have a crazy interesting one-time story to tell. In short, I constantly feel like I’m overcoming small battles. Knowing they will come, I try to be ready to make mistakes because I know I will make mistakes as I’m learning and growing. After all, mistakes are the greatest teachers, and I try to face them with less fear as I grow older.
FN: As the company’s Sales Executive, has there been a client who has managed to make an impact on how you view your business and your advocacy?
JB: In sales you really meet a lot of people from different industries. It didn’t take long before I began meeting business owners that I really look up to, mostly because it was they who initiated the conversation of their company investing in renewable energy. Often these business owners are not just after the savings, but also the environmental effects because they understand that without a future for our environment there is no future for any industry. These business owners are the ones that inspired me to do my own research, which led me to really being passionate about providing cleaner and cheaper energy options.
FN: What are the myths about solar energy that you usually have to debunk, and how will you convince consumers to go for a more environmentally-friendly energy source?
JB: One myth people believe is that it’s expensive. It is not. Of course, the bigger the project the bigger the investment, but with larger commercial-scale projects we offer really flexible financing.
Another myth is that solar is new technology. It’s been around for so many decades. Solar systems are proven technology and we can always refer interested prospects to our existing clients for questions about their experience with our installations.
In general, if consumers simply do not believe in solar technology or the environmental need for clean energy, I would show them how the system works because the quality and value of the product and service really speaks for itself.
FN: Approximately how much will it take for a family of four to start using solar energy, and in how many years will they feel the return of their investment?
JB: The investment would range roughly from P180,000 to P350,000 depending on their energy consumption. They will feel or see the return on investment after three to five years depending on their location and current electricity provider.
The moment we install, they will already see a change in their electric bill!
FN: What’s your vision for yourself in five years, and for the Philippines in ten?
JB: In five years, I want to still be in this industry with the knowledge that I have successfully helped the country become a greener place by getting business owners, investors, and individuals to go solar. After having gained more experience, I’d like to help young women who have the hunger to make a difference or do something impactful by supporting their ideas or their dreams, especially if they are in the renewable or sustainability fields.
For the Philippines, I’m hopeful that we will reach the goals we made in the Paris Agreement, and that it is on a clear path of sustainable growth and development that is mindful of the environment.
FN: What's your advice for women who want to work in a green industry such as yours?
JB: I look up to women who want to work in a green industry so much, and for someone just entering, I would tell them to be ready to face all sorts of challenges because it is a very competitive industry that is growing fast. I’d encourage them to study, learn the technology, keep up with the technology, and be ready to think out of the box!