MANILA, Philippines — While millions suffer from daily power outages, Paluan town in Occidental Mindoro is now blackout-free.
Solar Philippines has completed the largest solar-battery micro-grid in Southeast Asia. With two megawatts of solar panels, two MW batteries and two MW diesel backup, it is designed to supply reliable power 24 hours a day at a lower cost.
The project uses panels from the Solar Philippines Factory and is the first micro-grid in Asia to feature Powerpacks from Tesla, a leading manufacturer of batteries and electric vehicles.
It marks the launch of “Solar Para Sa Bayan,” an initiative by Solar Philippines founder Leandro Leviste to bring cheaper and more reliable power to areas poorly served by utilities in support of the Duterte administration’s program to end energy poverty by 2022.
At the project inauguration on March 11, residents raised a banner proclaiming “No more brownouts” and recognized the event as a turning point for Paluan, which never had power 24/7.
Mayor Carl Pangilinan said Paluan first received four hours of daily electricity in 1978 from the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative, but it waived the franchise due to difficulties in serving the town.
In 2014, the National Power Corp. (Napocor) resumed service at an average of 16 hours a day, with outages that sometimes lasted for several days.
Mindoro was dubbed as the ”brownout capital of the Philippines” due to extended power outages.
Since Solar Philippines began its operations last December, Pangilinan said Palueños enjoyed their first Christmas without power interruptions.
Apart from reliable power, Solar Philippines is serving the town at 50 percent lower cost than Napocor, which spends up to P20 billion a year from the Universal Charge for Missionary Electrification subsidy, which is funded by consumers.
Paluan used to consume subsidies of over P30 million a year, but with Solar Philippines it can operate subsidy-free.
The Paluan Solar-Battery Micro-Grid was presented in August 2017 at the inauguration of the Solar Philippines Factory, which President Duterte attended.
The President commended Solar Philippines for the “vision and the will” to tackle projects that do good for the country. ”All you need is the will to turn your vision into reality,” he said.