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South East Asia’s Largest Solar/Microgrid?

Solar Philippines has completed the largest solar-battery micro-grid in Southeast Asia, the company said on Monday.

The  micro-grid was built in Paluan, Occidental Mindoro.

With 2 megawatts (MW) of solar panels, 2 megawatt hours (MWh) of batteries, and 2 MW of diesel backup, the micro-grid “is designed to supply reliable power 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, at 50 percent less than the full cost of the local electric coop,” Solar Philippines noted in an emailed statement.

The project uses panels from the Solar Philippines Factory, and is also the first micro-grid in Asia to feature Powerpacks from Tesla, a leading manufacturer of batteries and electric vehicles.

The project marks the launch of “Solar Para Sa Bayan” initiative by Solar Philippines founder Leandro Leviste to bring cheaper, more reliable power to areas poorly served by utilities, in support of the Duterte administration’s aim of ending energy poverty by 2022.

Paluan first received four hours of daily service in 1978 from the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (OMECO), which later waived its franchise given the difficulties in serving the town, Mayor Carl Pangilinan said in his welcome remarks.
In 2014, National Power Corporation (NPC) resumed electricity service at an average of 16 hours a day but with outages sometimes lasting several days.

Pangilinan noted that since Solar Philippines began operations in December 2017, Palueños enjoyed their first ever Christmas without brownouts. He said students can study at night and use computers in school, families can use electric fans amid the summer heat, sari-sari stores can sell refrigerated drinks, and an ice plant is now being planned to support local fishermen.

Paluan used to consume subsidies of over P30 million a year under the NPC. With solar power now available, the town can consume electricity at 50 percent lower than the electricity from NPC.

“We see ourselves as partners in developing Paluan into a first-class municipality in the coming years. While other companies seek to charge the highest rates possible, we believe that offering quality service at the lowest cost is win-win, helping the areas we serve and growing the market over the long-term,” Leviste said.

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