Living without electricity in urban areas is almost completely unthinkable. For the whole day, everything a person does is powered by some form of electricity. In it’s absence, a person’s quality of life would drastically change. Whenever there’s a “brownout” happens in the area, serious complaints are expected to follow.
Powering Masbate: a housing project outfitted with roof mounted solar panels.
In Luna, Apayao: a pole mounted solar panel stands next to a school
Nueva Vizcaya students watch a movie for the first time.
Imagine how people from remote provinces live where establishing power lines is almost impossible due to the terrain and distance. And think how these residents do their daily tasks without any kind of steady source of electricity and only kerosene lamps are the dependable source of light in the evening. Aside from being fire hazards, gas lamps are not be bright enough for reading and have been found to produce climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions. How about the electric generator? Its costly price tag is obviously a big hindrance for the common folk.
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 use electric fans and watch DVD movies. However, the power doesn’t come from the usual utility grid 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. Qualified barangays in the said program were selected by the DOE with the help of the Electric Cooperative of the Provinces. Furthermore, in 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 is a locally-owned company also engaged in marine engineering. It was selected through a bidding process offering the lowest price, capability, and man power to design and install the systems.
In total, over 600 barangays which never had electricity, received power using varying systems each tailored to the needs and specifications of the area.
Today, a house in these locations can generate about 300 – 500 watts per day. The people now enjoy using appliances like radios, televisions, and CFL & LED lights, as well as electric fans. Each house uses different solar home systems ranging from 20 to 300Wp (watt peak). This demonstrates that solar PV, as an alternative energy solution, 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.
Visit www.greenheat-intl.com and know more about solar PV systems.
Christian Melanie Lee is a freelance social media manager and web developer. She also devoted her time managing her food blog, and music/concert blog. One of the Hootsuite Ambassador for the Philippines since 2014 and currently working as social media manager for the local band, The Itchyworms.
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