Solar energy seen as main future power source

By Tyrone Jasper C. Piad – May 11, 2019
from The Manila Times

Solar energy is the future of power sector, the Renewable Energy Association of the Philippines (REAP) said, enticing German firms to invest on solar rooftops and microgrid plants.

“Renewable energy is part of the whole energy efficiency value chain. It is worth looking into what we can invest on in employing these different technologies,” REAP President Erel Narida said during an event hosted by German-Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (GPCCI) in Makati City on Tuesday.

Narida said that Luzon was at 94.8 percent electrification level according to latest data, which means that the island group is now “looking for savings” in terms of energy consumption.

Installation of solar rooftops is seen as a long-term cheap alternative energy source, Narida said, citing a report that it would comprise one-third of the all solar energy fixtures in the Philippines by 2030 from increasing popularity.

He also noted that, according to a North Carolina-based firm research, the total solar energy generation capacity of the country was targeted to reach 8,700 megawatts in 12 years.
Narida said German firms could also look into incorporating generator to energy management system of solar power plants, in addition to energy storage systems.

Apart from solar rooftops, Narida said there were also opportunities in developing renewable energy source based on island electrification through hybrid micro-grid plants.

Hybrid plants, which are run by solar energy and diesel, are available in 1,792 islands with capacity ranging from 100 kilowatts (KW) to 400 KW, he added.

He stressed, however, that microgrids were not limited to solar power only, other available resources, such as hydro energy, could be utilized as well.

Recently, Narida said that a 900-KW Wind power microgrid in Romblon island not only supplies power to households but also caters to charging batteries of electric vehicles there. There are currently 16 charging stations, he added.

GPCCI Executive Director Martin Henkelmann is “positive” the renewable energy sector in the Philippines is bullish with opportunities.

“We have a delegation of seven companies of which most of them are not yet in the Philippines. They are looking for partners and corporations here,” Henkelmann told reporters on the sidelines of the event.

“Investment decisions take some time, so if they have good meetings might not be realized this year, but in the beginning next year,” he added.