Around 15,000 residents living in three remote islands in Camarines Sur now enjoy round-the-clock electricity service after a Lopez-led microgrid developer completed its projects there last week.
FP Island Energy Corporation, a subsidiary of First Philippine Holdings Corporation, began commercial operations of its microgrids in the islands of Haponan and Lahuy in Caramoan and Quinasalag in Garchitorena last December 10, under the Qualified Third Party (QTP) program of the Department of Energy (DOE).
“As a Lopez Group company, we at FP Island pursued these microgrid projects because they are aligned with our Group’s new mission which is ‘forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future,’” FP Island President, Victor Emmanuel B. Santos, Jr. explained. “I have very high hopes the microgrids will help uplift the lives of the residents in the islands, most of whom make a living by fishing,” he said.
The three islands, which are not connected to the Luzon Grid, have been running on diesel generator sets to provide their power supply. However, Haponen’s stopped operating several years ago. Meanwhile, Lahuy’s and Quinalasag’s work, but only work for a few hours, resulting in daily outages lasting between 8-16 hours.
To solve the problem, the DOE designated FP Island as the QTP or alternative service provider for the islands at the conclusion of a competitive selection process.
As QTP, FP Island installed a microgrid in each of the three islands. This small and localized electricity network generates and distributes its own 24/7 or continuous electricity from a hybrid or combination of renewable energy and conventional power sources.
The solar component of the microgrid works when the sun shines, while the battery system takes over at night or when clouds cover the sun. In instances when the battery drains and sunlight is not available, the diesel generator provides back-up power for continuous availability of electricity in the microgrids.
The Lopez firm’s microgrids each have a computerized smart controller, which manages the smooth shift of electricity from one energy source to the other, thereby assuring the flow of an uninterrupted supply of electricity. In lieu of billing customers every month, FP Island will introduce a prepaid metering system that allows a customer to manage power consumption in a manner akin to buying prepaid cellphone loads.
“As a Lopez Group company, we at FP Island pursued these microgrid projects because they are aligned with our Group’s new mission which is ‘forging collaborative pathways for a decarbonized and regenerative future.’ I have very high hopes the microgrids will help uplift the lives of the residents in the islands, most of whom make a living by fishing,” FP Island President Victor Emmanuel Santos said in a statement.
“These islands are rich in marine resources. However, we have been told that more than half of the daily catch goes to waste because there is no way to preserve the fish before it gets to market. But with 24/7 electricity, the inhabitants can be regenerative by making ice, using this to preserve more of their catch and earning more income for their families,” he added.