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Off-grid solar viewed as solution for post-typhoon brownouts

December 31, 2020


The Bicol region underwent a total power blackout after typhoons Quinta, Ulysses and Super Typhoon Rolly toppled the majority of power lines in the area.

But it was not the case for the Saldo family in Nabua, Camarines Sur who didn’t live in darkness.

“The lights around the house were lit providing good visibility during typhoons. Our food didn’t spoil as the fridge was also powered by our solar photovoltaic (PV) system,” said Capt. Walter Saldo, a master mariner.

The system also powered the family’s communications devices keeping them informed and prepared. Power restoration took about two to eight weeks in the flood-prone Nabua, a first-class municipality with over 87,000 residents. 

Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) suggested renewable energy as an alternative. With the availability of renewable energy technology and access to the National Power Corporation Small Power Utilities Group (NPC SPUG) financing, the country could secure affordability, reliability and resiliency, said IEEFA energy finance analyst Sara Jane Ahmed.

 In October, Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi declared a moratorium on new coal power plants–a policy shift towards the transition from fossil fuel to renewable energy technologies.

With this policy, more investments in renewables are expected to enter the local market. However, the government is still locking in a diesel strategy, Ahmed said, citing IEEFA’s recent findings that the NPC SPUG might spend about P13.47 billion in fuel alone next year. 

[Mark Toldo]

More: Bicolanos seek alternative energy sources amid post-typhoon brownouts

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