Solar power makes for viable option
MUCH OF THE noise may have died down, but the advocacy to go for alternative cleaner sources of energy remains just as aggressive as before.
And recently, a school and a publishing house have separately installed solar photovoltaic systems, paving the way for the larger adoption of this technology in their respective area and industry.
St. Scholastica’s Academy Marikina has followed the footsteps of its sister school in Manila and installed its own solar rooftops, currently the largest solar photovoltaic system in Marikina City. This facility can generate 216,948 kilowatt-hours yearly and will enable the 55-year-old private Catholic school for girls to save as much as P19 million annually in its electricity bill, based on an average rate of P10 per kilowatt-hour.
A total of 680 solar panels spread over 1,320 sqm of rooftop space were installed on top of SSAM’s newly built seven-story St. Scholastica and four-story St. Benedictine buildings. Each building has a 102-kilowatt peak (kWp) solar power plant. The grid-connected installation located in Marikina Heights produces approximately 40 percent of SSAM’s electricity consumption.
“Solar technology is not just a strategy to tackle climate change and global warming, but it also addresses the high cost of electricity that burdens both the poor and the middle class,” said Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro during the switch-on ceremonies of SSAM’s solar PV system.
“The adoption of solar PV system is a long-term solution we envision for our city to promote and sustain self-sufficient communities that can produce their own power and change their perspective and lifestyle as an off shoot of sufficiency,” Teodoro added.
Solar solutions provider Green Heat installed SSAM’s solar rooftops, its sixth solar school since 2012. The company also installed the 96kWp solar PV systems of Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila and St. Paul College in Parañaque. The company is presently working on the solar rooftop of Canossa School of Sta. Rosa, Laguna.
According to Green Heat, SSAM’s solar PV system can reduce the school’s carbon footprint by as much as 108.5 metric tons of carbon dioxide, equivalent to planting 1,250 trees each year, Green Heat has registered SSAM’s solar PV system under the government’s net metering program, thus allowing the school to sell the surplus electricity it produces during weekends, holidays and breaks back to the grid.
Meanwhile, the Rex Group of Companies also recently switched on its 178.5 kW solar rooftop on Tuesday at its Quezon City office, becoming the first publishing house in the country to go solar.
The 595-photovoltaic module solar power plant can generate up to 216,036 kilowatt-hours on its first year of operation, displacing Rex’s power consumption by 20 percent. Green Heat said that Rex’s solar energy initiative can reduce the company’s carbon emission by 108 metric tons each year, equivalent to having 1,080 adult trees planted within its vicinity.
“We cannot reduce the impact of climate change without transforming global energy systems, but today, we have the unique opportunity to transform not only our company but society as well,” Rex Printing COO Don Timothy I. Buhain was quoted as saying.
The solar power plant formed part of Rex’s energy conservation and efficiency program that seeks to institutionalize the practice of saving energy using available technologies.
“As a company whose core business is to produce books and with paper as its raw material, the solar power plant is definitely a worthwhile project,” added Rex Group chairman and president Dominador D. Buhain.
The shift towards renewable and sustainable energy is gaining ground in the country against the backdrop of a looming global energy crisis, in which the Asia-Pacific region may bear the heaviest repercussions.
The region is home to 4.5 billion people or 60 percent of the world’s population, according to United Nations’ estimates.
Though slow to start, the shift from traditional to renewable energy in the country had picked up pace since 2012, after legislators enacted Republic Act No. 9513 or the Renewable Energy Act of 2008 that primarily promotes the development, utilization, and commercialization of renewable energy resources.
An ISO-certified local solar power company, Green Heat specializes in the design and construction of solar PV systems. Among its milestone projects include the rural electrification program of the Philippine government and the solar rooftops of the Procurement Service-Philippine Government Electronic Procurement System, Asian Development Bank, Asia Brewery, Inc., REDCORP and various Wilcon Depot outlets. The company has also been supporting the government’s renewable energy program for private schools, installing the solar rooftops to schools and colleges.
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