The Solar Solution: Bringing Light to Provinces
A “brownout” in the city is almost unthinkable. Living without electricity in an urban area like ours will surely gather serious complaints. For the whole day, almost everything we do is powered by some form of electricity.
Think about how residents in remote provinces live where establishing power lines is almost impossible due to the terrain and distance. Imagine then how they are able to cope without any kind of steady source of electricity and only kerosene lamps serve as the dependable source of light in the evening. Aside from being a fire hazard, gas lamps are not be bright enough for reading and have been found to produce climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions. On the other hand, electric generators are just too costly for the regular people.
So when electricity made it to the far-flung homes of North Luzon, Apayao, Kalinga, Nueva Vizcaya, Isabela, Agusan Del Sur, Lanao Del Norte, Sultan Kudarat, Masbate, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Zamboanga City, and North Cotabato, its residents were surprised beyond belief. Because it was literally their first time to watch DVD movies and use electric fans.
However, the power doesn’t come from the usual utility grid but rather, a renewable energy called solar power. The sun’s energy was harnessed using solar PV (photovoltaic) panels mounted on roofs or poles. The produced energy are then routed through an inverter and supplies power to the house’s outlets.
The above-mentioned towns are part of the Department of Energy’s (DOE) Rural Electrification Program. Iin cooperation with AMORE (Alliance for Mindanao and multi-regional Renewable Energy development) and UNDP (United Nations Development Program), the program was implemented by Propmech Corporation through their solar division, Green Heat.
Propmech was selected through a bidding process offering the lowest price, capability, and man power to design and install the systems. It is a locally-owned company also engaged in marine engineering.
In total, over 600 barangays which never had electricity, received power using varying systems each tailored to the needs and specifications of the area. All the qualified barangays were selected by the DOE with the help of the Electric Cooperative of the Provinces.
Today, a house in these locations can generate about 300 – 500 watts per day. The people now enjoy using appliances like televisions, radios, and electric fans, as well as CFL & LED lights. Each house uses different solar home systems ranging from 20 to 300Wp (watt peak). This demonstrates solar PV as an alternative energy solution that can be applied to a small scale project.
“With DOE subsidization and a payment plan, residents are able to afford the systems which range from PhP19,000 to PhP175,000, depending on the requirements of the house. Over a period of time, the home owner is able to recoup their investment and enjoy a level of energy self-sufficiency.”
The introduction of solar power to these remote areas and villages are numerous and long-lasting. It gave them a better lifestyle in many ways, from getting entertained to staying informed to increasing productivity, outweighing the cost in the long run.
Check out www.greenheat-intl.com and learn more about solar PV systems.