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Solar power project set for Metro schools

The Department of Energy (DOE) will be helping Metro Manila schools reduce their dependence on the Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) through the installation of solar power systems on various campuses.

Energy Secretary Carlos Jericho Petilla on Friday said the DOE would be launching its “solar rooftop program” in July, with the Manuel L. Quezon University in Manila as pilot site.

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“The rest (of the schools) will come one after the other,” Petilla told reporters.

If the pilot proves successful in Metro Manila, the government will replicate the project in other provinces, namely Bulacan, Cavite, Rizal, Batangas, Laguna, Quezon and Pampanga.

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The project will be implemented in areas covered by the franchise  of Meralco, which has a net metering program that enables renewable energy producers to offset their grid consumption with power produced from solar, wind and similar technologies.

The schools would pay the private supplier for the electricity generated by the solar rooftops at about P9.50 per kilowatt-hour, or P2 cheaper than the Meralco rate of P11.50 per kWh.

“All schools within Meralco’s franchise area would need some 270 megawatts from the solar rooftops. The target is by 2015 all private schools will already source part of their electricity needs from solar power,” Petilla said.

Mario Marasigan, director of DOE’s Renewable Energy Management Bureau, said the pilot installations are only for 100 kilowatts, which can be set up within 60 days from the start of each contract.

“There are at least six participant-suppliers for the initial three or four schools, so there will be a selection process,” he said.

The schools participating in DOE’s program will provide the space and will not spend for the solar installation. They will  pay the supplier only for the energy produced.

“This will ensure that the suppliers will install their systems well. Without production, they don’t get paid,” Marasigan said.

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The DOE first disclosed plans for the solar rooftop project last year, when the project was still being conceptualized.

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TAGS: Alternative Energy, Conservation, Electricity, Metro Manila, School, Solar energy
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