THE use of solar energy is on the rise. Here in Pampanga, we have large installations like the solar roof of Robinson's Pampanga which can generate 2.88 MW of power. There's also the 23-MW Raslag Solar Power plant in Mexico which can be seen along the North Luzon Expressway and the 22-MW Mabalacat Solar Philippines inside Clark. There are small installations like Solar Powered lamp post in some cities and municipalities too. What I want to see however are ordinary homes powered by solar energy.

In California, USA, two of my friend's homes are totally powered by solar energy. My friend in Tracy, California bought a solar power system and had the solar panels installed in their roof. As a result, they don't pay electricity at all. What's more, they even have excess power (meaning their generation is more than their usage) which they can avail of anytime of the year.

Another friend in San Diego, California also has solar panels in his roof. Unlike my friend in Tracy however, his solar power system is rented. The advantage of this set-up is that the maintenance is done by the supplier and the disposal or replacement after its end-of-life use is also theirs. In this particular case however, the net savings is the power generated less the rental fee.

In both cases, the electricity generated by the system is not stored in batteries. Rather, it is sent directly to the grid to be used and distributed by the local power company. An electric meter records how much power was generated, and another meter records the power usage.

To make this set-up possible in the Philippines, the system and infrastructure must be in place first. Houses, commercial establishments and other buildings that have solar power systems must have the capability to send their generated electricity to the grid. The accounting system is easy to set-up. If this system will be in place, I'm sure many will take advantage of it. Others may even opt to have battery storage so they can have power during brown outs.

If we have this kind of system in the Philippines, there might no longer be a need to put up additional power plants. How about it Department of Energy?


Another interesting development in the field of renewable energy is Kite Power. Yes, kites are no longer just a child's toy, they are a source of infinite, renewable and clean energy. This technology is easily applicable in the Philippines. How does this work?

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, "this concept converts the up and down motion of a tethered kite (or parafoil) to electrical energy using a power conversion mechanism and generator on the ground. Using kites instead of wind turbines has the potential to give more people in the developing world access to wind power since kites are economical in lower speed Class 2 wind regions, whereas wind turbines are not."