UZ to tap clean solar power amid persisting blackouts PDF Print E-mail
Monday, 16 March 2015 11:21

By Dominic Ilagan Sanchez

 

The Universidad de Zamboanga (UZ) has taken the first step to utilize clean and renewable solar energy as an alternative source of electricity in the city, amidst intermittent power outages that have been persisting here for several years now.

The university, in partnership with Buskowitz Development Incorporated (BDI) and Energy Renewables Asia, Incorporated (ERA),  forged a partnership Tuesday (March 10) that will realize a P12-million 120-kilowatt solar power project which will provide electricity to UZ’s main campus in barangay Tetuan, seen to be operational within the coming months.

UZ president Atty. Linda Eustaquio-Lim believes that it is high time to consider this alternative energy considering the current power situation in the city.

She said that blackouts have been around for too long, even since her childhood. “I remember studying by candlelight when I was young. Seven decades later, we still continue to suffer.”

“We have been far too timid and content to suffer blackouts that have plagued this city. The time has come to focus on renewable energy as the only sensible remedy,” said Atty. Eustaquio-Lim.

She emphasized that the city’s level of development or the political stability here should not be a hindrance to consider this more efficient power source.

Less dependent on Zamcelco

As a result of the solar power project, UZ is seen to be less dependent on the limited power supply distributed by the Zamboanga City Electric Cooperative (Zamcelco).

Consequentially, “the local power cooperative will then be able to use the energy it would have normally use to supply UZ to increase its own load and supply someone else the need of power,” a press statement read. “As a result, this will help the cooperative lessen its power outages within its franchising areas.”

The 120-kWp, when realized, will produce about 200,000 kWh in a year. “Instead of purchasing this power from the local distribution utility, the Solar PV system can provide for UZ’s energy consumption during daylight hours,” the statement furthered.

Clean solar power highly feasible in PHL

BDI’s Thomas Deeg explained that solar energy, as an alternative source of electricity, is very feasible here and in other areas in the Philippines.

“Solar energy is now being utilized widely in other countries like Germany,” Deeg shares. He emphasized that Germany receives very little solar energy from the sun compared to the Philippines, yet the latter has been successfully harnessing the sun’s energy very efficiently. The Philippines’ geographical location on the equator gives it more sunlight hence solar power is seen to be more efficient here.

“It has worked well in other countries. We don’t have snow (in the Philippines), and we are closer to the equator,” Deeg emphasized.

“We will use the knowledge from Germany’s solar power engineers and transfer it here,” he added.

Deeg believes that one of the reasons why solar energy remains untapped is that many people have been closed-minded about it. “Many of us are saying, ‘we cannot do that’, but this is just an excuse.”

“The sun’s power is unlimited,” he exclaimed. “It is free, and 100% clean.”

Currently, BDI and ERA already have solar power projects in the Monaco Suites in Boracay and in John B. Lacson Foundation Maritime University.

Talks with Zamcelco to go solar

BDI Chief Executive Officer James Buskowitz shared a few years back Zamcelco has shown interest in solar energy however the project did not push through due to some technicalities.

Buskowitz is still optimistic that future talks will be more fruitful, and looks forward for more exploratory talks with the local electric cooperative. “We are looking to re-approaching them again,” he said.

Going green

Initially, this solar project will only energize the main UZ campus. However, Atty. Eustaquio-Lim looks forward to growing the project to other UZ facilities.

“We will not stop here,” she pointed out that. “Eventually, every building that bears the UZ logo will have solar power.” She emphasized that with UZ’s initiative, more will consider to use clean solar power.

Last year, UZ was awarded by DENR and PIA as an “Eco-Friendly School” for its numerous environmental protection and promotion projects. This solar project is part of its efforts to help fight the effects of climate change. — FPG/DIS/PIA9-Zamboanga City