Monday, May 29, 2017

Former DOE dad predicts
Pamilacan solar success

TAGBILARAN CITY, May 22, (PIA)--While former Department of Energy (DOE) Renewable Energy Management Bureau chief said 70% of the country's solar energy projects failed, Jesus Layug Jr., predicts the success of Pamilacan's solar power. 

Speaking during the turn-over of the P10 million energy power to serve eight more hours of daytime requirements for the 329 households in this green tourism island, Layug recounts that projects without the community owning it, is doomed to fail, from the start. 

But, change has come in Pamilacan, through WeGen Distributed Energy Philippines. 

A new player in clean energy development in the country, WeGen donated P10 million worth of facilities that would bring additional 8 hours of power to residents in an off the grid island in Bohol. 

And while private companies would call this a part of their corporate social responsibility (CSR) WeGen calls it corporate social immersion. 

Through its Chief Executive Officer Atty. Julito Sarmiento, WeGen, who need not make a profit to start a project said all they need is for the community to put up the effort to own the project. 

And the community has over P10 million reasons to do so, hints Pamilacan Barangay Chairman Crispo Valeroso. 

WeGen's P10 million solar energy facility comprises of 135 photo voltaic panels, 60 power storage batteries, inverters, coils of networking wires, metal purlins and construction materials to retrofit the roof of the Pamilacan National High School for the panels to be attached. 

All of the hardwork: from the backbreaking loading of the panels, batteries and the construction materials to the hilltop location of the school from the bocks entail labor components which the community puts up, Valeroso claimed. 

Put in Pamilacan, the solar energy capable of producing 39KW peak of solar photo voltaic energy is practically a zero maintenance free source, claims WeGen Philippines. 

Compared to a coal fired plant which has moving parts, a solar facility does not even need much maintenance other than battery replacement after 6 years, Sarmiento pointed out. 

Set up to complement power supply served by the island's diesel generator component of the Small Power Utility Group (SPUG) which provides power from 6PM to midnight, the new facility allows power use from 8:00 to 4:00 PM. 

This is enough for teachers to supplement their classes with video presentations, while fishermen can have their daily catch refrigerated and the Barangay Health Center can now keep vaccines in cold storage, WeGen added. 

While Pamilacan collects P18.00 per kilowatt of diesel generated power service, residents who have worked to keep the project have agreed to contribute to a solar trust fund to be collected by their local Electric Cooperative Association (ECA).

When WeGen did not ask for it owing to the already put up labor counterpart, residents said they are putting the fund for repair, maintenance and other future expansions.

This is an indicator that the community, which have become not just consumers but producers of energy through the facility, now owns the project, Layug's prediction may have some truth in it. 

By future expansions, the ECA plans to get more solar panels to increase capacities and get the solar service working from midnight onwards. 

While power use at night is more extensive, complementing the diesel power generator between midnight to morning where usage is also limited my ease out the islanders' inconvenience and usher to them decent lives. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)
Former DOE REMB chief Jesus Layug Jr., talks with WeGen Germany Founder Michael Saalfeld as the Pinoy energy czar pointed out failures in the country's solar projects due to communities not owning them. (rahc/PIA-7/Bohol)

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