Goodbye to high electric bills, hello to solar power

Published by rudy Date posted on April 11, 2009

BERLIN—No more blackouts. No more expensive monthly electric bills. Thanks to the sun.

Solar power is a renewable energy derived from the sun’s rays and heat. It does not harm the environment. It is free and reliable.

Sunlight is converted into solar energy for useful applications, such as generating electricity like in the case of solar photovoltaics, or simply for heating and cooling purposes as in solar thermal applications.

In Germany, for instance, solar thermal is used to complement power districts in addressing the heating requirements of residents.

Solar power still has minimal contribution to the country’s energy mix, accounting for only 0.7 percent so far.

Germany just gets a fraction of sunlight. In stark contrast, the Philippines receives sunlight virtually all year. But the Germans have harnessed the sun’s potential as an energy source far better than the Filipinos have done so far.

The Philippines, like most developing countries, is facing a serious energy crisis by 2012—the existing generating capacity could no longer address rising demand due to rising incomes and more economic activities.

Residents in the Philippines pay the second-highest power rates in Asia, second only to Japan. In a country where about 40 percent of the population subsists below the poverty line, paying for electricity is the least priority. A country that is competing with the rest of the world for much-needed foreign investments, high power rate is not a viable proposition for investors.

Approximately 70 percent of the population in the Philippines live in rural areas. And since the Philippines is an archipelago of 7,100 islands, most of the areas are not connected to a power grid.

Solar energy, which is an abundant resource in the country, provides a sound alternative.

Ronda, a small town with a population of 1,000 in central Philippines, has the world’s first solar-powered, pre-paid water supply pumping and distribution system introduced by Texas-based WorldWater, an expert in solar technologies and water resources management.-Elaine Ramos Alanguilan

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