Country’s Biggest solar microgrid switched on
An affiliate of Sunwest Water and Electric Co. Inc. (Suweco) on Wednesday switched on a P550-million, 7.5-megawatt solar-diesel hybrid microgrid on Tablas Island in Romblon province.
Touted as the country’s “first and biggest” solar microgrid facility, the Tumingad solar power plant is owned and operated by Suweco Tablas Energy Corp. (STEC).
Scheduled to start commercial operations in September, the microgrid can produce electricity at a volume that is enough to support the daytime supply needs of Tablas’ 43,400 households.
Electricity that exceeds the local’s requirements will be stored in the plant’s batteries and will be used to maintain a reliable system while diesel generators will produce electricity at night.
STEC said in a statement the power plant was expected to save about three million liters of fossil fuel and avoid carbon emissions of 6.5 million kilos a year.
Given this, “(a)n estimated P180 million per year will be saved from the government subsidy for universal charge for missionary electrification,” the company said.
STEC has entered into a partnership with Tablas Island Electric Cooperative, which hopes to see an end to brownouts on the island.
Residents have been experiencing daily power outages due to limited supply from state-owned National Power Corp.’s Small Power Utilities Group (SPUG).
SPUG serves areas that are not connected to the national grid and thus depend on diesel-powered generation sets.
Suweco is already in the electricity business in Catanduanes, Sorsogon, Romblon and Antique where the company operates several mini-hydro and diesel-fired power plants.
Suweco is part of the Sunwest Group Holding Company Inc., a business conglomerate founded by Legazpi-based entrepreneur and businessman Elizaldy S. Co.
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