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Friday, May 31, 2024

Solar power: A sustainable solution to Luzon’s worsening power woes

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Rotational blackouts are expected to get worse in 2022 amid aging power plants. More power outages are expected in Luzon, with the Department of Energy (DOE) implementing rotational blackouts beginning in May to manage power demand and supply. 

However, rotational blackouts are not a long-term solution – they are temporary and band-aid measures that will affect productivity as remote work becomes the norm with the pandemic. Rotational blackouts can also lead to an increase in consumer electricity bills, mainly due to higher WESM charges. 

The situation might worsen next year with anticipated forced outages in power facilities, the reduction of gas plants' power rating, and a shortage of gas fuel from the Malampaya field. 

The Department of Energy has been implementing a series of measurements to increase renewable energy generation capacity in the past decades. But simply augmenting coal-fired power plants and importing liquefied natural gas (LNG) are not sustainable solutions. Heavy reliance on imported fuels also increases risks of energy supply under the current pandemic.

Solar power might just be the answer to sustaining the country's economy. Transitioning to solar power now ensures that Filipino energy users don't bear the cost when these fossil fuel plants eventually become unusable. 

Solar PV has numerous advantages that overshadow its upfront cost. It is now the cheapest source of energy in many countries in the world, including Philippines. In addition, it's a clean energy source, making it a great way to reduce our carbon footprint that meets the Philippines commitment to climate change. Solar power does not release environment-harming greenhouse gases. Apart from clean water for occasional maintenance, off-grid solar installations do not require other resources to function. 

Shifting to solar PV also reduces the energy demand from aging coal fired generators and can deliver competitive, lower utility electricity rates compared to existing distribution. Rooftop solar PV for self-consumption increases energy efficiency, as it does not need extensive networks to transport electricity from power plants to households. Energy generated from rooftop solar PV can offset the initial investment in just a few years.

Solar power is the perfect choice for a tropical country like the Philippines with high irradiation. Photovoltaic technologies convert solar irradiation into electrical current, and the power can be used as a direct electricity source in households or stored in batteries. 

LONGi Solar is the industry leader in manufacturing monocrystalline solar products used in many major solar panels in the PV industry. Founded in 2000, LONGi is the fastest-growing PV module manufacturer and has become the largest mono wafer and solar module manufacturer worldwide. It is the only solar panel producer rated AAA in PV ModuleTech Bankability Ratings. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has rated the manufacturer with the top annual module capacity (Tier 1) in Q2 2021 and the highest Altman-Z score.

LONGi is forecasted to further supply 85GW of mono-crystalline wafer and 45GW of solar modules in 2021, representing around 40 percent and 30 percent global wafer and module market shares, respectively.

LONGi entered the Philippines market in 2017 and today the company has already become an established brand in the country. LONGi has supplied the 100MW PV + 132MW wind hybrid project in Ilocos Norte, with another 80MW project expected to be completed in 2021. 

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