Decade-long brownouts in Mindoro town is now over

Author: Darvin Tocmo  Date Posted:19 March 2018 

Decades-long brownouts in Mindoro town is now over

Town of Paluan in Occidental Mindoro is now completely brownout-free

  This solar project in Mindoro is now considered the largest Solar-Battery Micro-Grid in Southeast Asia. With 2 megawatts (MW) of solar panels, 2 MW hour of batteries and 2 MW of diesel backup, it 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 cooperative. The project uses the first in Asia to feature the latest Powerpack from Tesla, the leading manufacturer of batteries and electric vehicles. At the project’s inauguration on March 11, residents raised a banner proclaiming “No more brownouts!” and recognized this event as a turning point for Paluan, which never before in history had 24/7 power. To express gratitude for being chosen for this pioneering project, Palueños prepared a program, attended by over 2,000 people, from across Occidental Mindoro, who asked for similar solar-battery microgrids to be constructed in their towns. In his welcoming remarks, Mayor Carl Pangilinan said Paluan first received four hours of daily service in 1978 from the Occidental Mindoro Electric Cooperative (Omeco), which later waived its franchise, given its difficulties in serving the town. In 2014 the National Power Corp. (Napocor) resumed service, for an average of 16 hours a day, with outages sometimes lasting several days. Pangilinan noted that Palueños enjoyed their first Christmas without brownouts; students can now study at night and use computers at school, and an ice plant is now being planned to support local fishermen. Once dubbed the “Brownout Center of the Philippines,” Mindoro is only one of many regions where extended outages and flickering lights are a fact of life—including the rest of Southern Luzon, Northern Luzon, Western Visayas, Western Mindanao and Southern Mindanao. Electricity is not only a problem in the provinces. Last month Solar Philippines submitted an offer to provide 24/7 power to Meralco using solar and batteries, to lower rates by 30 percent in Metro Manila, which has among the most expensive rates in the country. Meralco stated it is currently reviewing the offer, acknowledging the low cost of solar, while noting the need for batteries to ensure reliability. The people in Paluan, Mindoro, now enjoy better service at lower costs than Filipinos in even major cities across our country; and we hope it is only a matter of time before all Filipinos will be able to enjoy the same. The Paluan Solar-Battery Micro-Grid was first presented in August 2017 at the inauguration with President Duterte, who commended solar energy to tackle energy projects that do good for the country. President Duterte encouraged the solar companies to continue such projects, as challenging as they may be, sharing the advice that “all you need is the will to implement and to do it to turn your vision into a reality.”