Solar electric systems will be installed in 150 isolated villages in the Philippines, as part of the world’s largest solar energy project.
LONDON, England, UK, 2001-03-30 <SolarAccess.com> BP Solar and the governments of Spain and the Philippines will invest $48 million to provide PV systems for more than 400,000 residents. The initiative is led by the Philippines’ Department of Agrarian Reform and will be financed by the Spanish government, with the first of two phases beginning this September. “This project reminds us that in the world’s most isolated areas, solar is often the most cost effective way to supply basic, essential needs such as lighting, water pumping, irrigation and refrigeration for vaccines and medications,” says Harry Shimp, president and CEO of BP Solar. “We have been honored to work with outstanding representatives from the Spanish and Philippine governments to ensure that each village receives the help it most needs to get on the road to real economic development.” The first phase of the project will involve 35 agrarian reform communities in the Mindanao region of the Philippines. BP will use install solar in 70 villages to power 5,500 home lighting systems, 25 irrigation systems, 97 potable water and distribution systems, 68 schools, 68 community centres, 35 health clinics and 100 communal lights, 35 new AC power supply systems for income generation purposes, project management and installation of 428 packaged solar systems, and training for 200 community organizations. The second phase will provide an additional 44 villages with 9,500 home lighting systems, 44 irrigation systems, 79 schools, 80 community centres, 2 health clinics and 193 communal lights, 44 AC power supply systems for income generation purposes, project management and installation of 442 packaged solar systems, and social preparation, community development and training for 220 community organizations. The cost to extend conventional power transmission lines is prohibitive in many regions of the Philippines and it is costly to transport diesel fuel for generators. International funding organizations are increasingly turning to solar as a low-cost way to supply electricity for the first time to remote areas and build the foundation for social and economic advancement in developing countries, says the BP release. BP recently completed a $30 million rural electrification project in the Philippines and a similar $30 million project in Indonesia. The company is one of the largest solar companies in the world and claims to hold 20 percent of the global market for solar panels, with annual revenue of $200 million. BP solar says it is growing at an average rate of 25 percent per year.