From BusinessWorld Philippines
June 05, 2012
Rooftop solar power project launched to prove viability
THE ASIAN Development Bank (ADB) said yesterday it expects solar power capacity in the Philippines to reach up to 115 megawatts (MW) by next year, as it launched yesterday its solar rooftop facility to prove the viability of this renewable energy thrust.
The multilateral lender said it estimates most of solar projects in the country will consist of small clusters that generate lower capacities of electricity rather than large facilities.
ADB installed 2,040 solar panels on its rooftop which can generate around 500 kilowatts of energy or around 613 MW a year.
“Our solar rooftop project demonstrates the viability of the facility which proves to businesses that they can use the technology as well,” Seethapathy Chander, ADB Director General for Regional and Sustainable Development, told reporters in a briefing yesterday.
“Due to this, we expect about 15 MW of new solar installations this year and around 50 MW to 100 MW next year in the Philippines,” he added.
ADB, along with its technology and technical providers Suntech Power Co. Ltd. and Propmech Corp., installed the panels on top of ADB’s auxiliary building. It also received support from the Energy and Environment departments, the local government of Mandaluyong, distribution utility Manila Electric Co., and the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines.
The facility provides about 3.5% of ADB’s energy needs.
Mr. Chander said ADB “does not anticipate savings will be generated from the project as this is only developmental and is very small.”
“But, eventually when scaled up, other businesses who follow suit will see savings,” he added.
He also clarified that such facility will be more cost-effective for buildings than houses, since while “the cost of equipment and labor are the same… buildings will be able to displace more energy” generated from fossil fuels when they tap solar power.
Such facilities in the Philippines should be installed mostly on rooftops because there is a lot of arable and productive land which should be used for food production rather than for solar power generation, said Pil-Bae Song, ADB Senior Advisor and Practice Leader for Energy.
ADB is also discussing with some renewable energy groups to build solar power charging stations for electric tricycles in tourist spots like Boracay and Puerto Princesa. — ENJD