NEA accelerates deployment of solar PV

By Myrna M. Velasco – October 12, 2019, 10:00 PM
from Manila Bulletin

Government-run National Electrification Agency (NEA) is accelerating the deployment of solar photovoltaic (PV) technologies for the energization of off-grid and far-flung areas nationwide.

As disclosed, the agency programmed to roll out 5,039 solar home systems (SHS) for off-grid communities starting this year – and these installations had been funneled with a total subsidy of P153 million.

NEA indicated that at least five electric cooperatives (ECs) will be involved in the initial solar PV rollout plan – including Busuanga Island Electric Cooperative Inc. (BISELCO), Camarines Sur IV Electric Cooperative Inc. (CASURECO IV), Iloilo III Electric Cooperative Inc. (ILECO III), Cotabato Electric Cooperative Inc. (COTELCO); and Zamboanga del Norte Electric Cooperative Inc. (ZANECO).

According to Engineer Ernesto Silvano Jr., acting manager of NEA Total Electrification and Renewable Energy Development Department, the five ECs had already been greenlighted to undertake competitive bidding “for the procurement and installation of SHS units.”

The electrification agency official indicated that the installation of solar home systems had been targeted to start this year.

Based on allocation, the bulk of the solar home systems will be for the Busuanga power utility for 1,200 units; 1,063 units for Cotabato; 967 units for Zamboanga; 931 units for Iloilo; and 878 units for Camarines Sur.

With the target of the Duterte administration to achieve full electrification of all households nationwide until 2022, NEA has been counting on the deployment of renewable energy technologies to achieve this goal – primarily within the precept of “micro grid” business model.

Solar PV is a technology option that NEA has been turning to in the goal to finally provide electricity access to more than 2.0 million more of Filipinos denied of such access for the longest time.

Renewable energy technologies, including hybrid tech deployments – as well as the micro grids have been among the array of installations that the government has been studying to bring power to the under-served and un-energized domains of the country.

NEA has opined that the mainstreaming of RE technologies, chiefly solar PVs and solar home systems, could be a workable recourse for many off-grid areas in the Philippines.

In particular, for the PV mainstreaming program in the country, this is carried out by the Department of Energy (DOE) and funded by the EU-ASEP through the World Bank.

Meanwhile, the Local Government Unit-Guarantee Corporation (LGU-GC) serves as program manager; while the NEA is the implementing arm given its supervisory function over the electric cooperatives.