Solar power technology gains ground among APEC member economies

By on April 17, 2015


LAOAG CITY, Ilocos Norte — Energy experts from member economies of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) have reported that the Photovoltaic (PV) solar power technology has made inroads in their respective renewable energy (RE) programs.

The Philippines amended its installation target of solar energy generation from 50 megawatts (MW) to 500 MW last year, after seeing solar power generation as one of the most promising source of renewable energy.

Director Mario Marasigan of the Renewable Energy Management Bureau of the Energy Department said on Wednesday that although it amended the installation target, the government remains careful so as not to hurt power consumers who do not get power subsidies from the government.

“For the Philippines, we have implemented the net metering for PV solar installations in academic institutions. This has encouraged the academe to build their own RE systems, such as the solar PV on their rooftops,” he said.

The sharing of experiences was part of the ongoing 44th Meeting of the APEC-Expert Group on New Renewable Energy (APEC-EGNRET44) being held at the Fort Ilocandia Resort Hotel here.

Meanwhile, Gavin Yu of Korea noted a growing number of new renewable energy manufacturers as the RE sector develops.

He said that from 2007 to 2013, the number of manufacturers more than doubled, the employment figure more than tripled, while the revenue size increased sixfold.

Korea, he said, has a distinct microgrid system in small island areas instead of independent systems, which rely on fuel-fed generators.

The country piloted connection projects that generated energy from wind, PV solar and geothermal integrating with Energy Storage System (ESS), all in Ulleung Island, he said.

With its sound Renewable Portfolio Standard, the rooftop and parking lot of Renault Samsung Motors in Busan was converted into a Solar PV Power Plant, now the largest solar PV plant for the single factory and provides electricity to 7,300 households.

Korea’s PV Rental Program is also promising as it allows household owners to reduce their electricity bill to 80 percent, he added.

“PV rental companies earn rental fee and benefit from the Renewable Energy Point set by the government,” Yu said.

Chinese Taipei on the other hand has devised a solar PV mechanism that ensures fair participation of applicants and reveals the actual market value and costs of PV installation.

The country also convinced its banking institutions to provide financing support.

At least 26 banks have embraced green financing, with the green energy investment fund growing from US$ 1.6 million in 2011 to US$ 222 million in 2013.

Japan is geared towards installing PV solar and wind power technologies because of its good wind resource.

Takao Ikeda of Japan said the government allocated more than 27 billion yen in 2014 for the research and development of a utility scale battery system.

By 2020, it targets to reduce the cost of Lithium batteries, Redox Flow battery, NAS battery and other existing batteries, he said.

The United States, for its part, conducted the 2014 SunShot Grand Challenge Summit and Peer Review in support of the 10-year SunShot initiative that began in 2010.

The SunShot initiative targets the production of grid connected PV power at 5 cents to 6 cents per kilowatt-hour.

The result of the Ilocos Norte meeting will be presented to APEC energy officials in October during the Energy Ministers’ Meeting to be held in Cebu.