THE Mactan Electric Company (Meco) has offered to install solar-powered lights on the first Mactan-Mandaue Bridge, a project that is estimated to cost P30 million.
Cebu Promotions and Investment Office (Cipo) Chief Benjamin Yap said Meco’s proposal will be at no cost to the Provincial Government.
Meco’s franchise, however, only covers half of the bridge. The other half, which falls within Mandaue City, is covered by the franchise of the Visayan Electric Company (Veco).
Yap said that he will discuss the proposal with Veco.
Lawyer Jill Verallo, head of Veco’s reputation enhancement department, said that the distribution utility will wait for word from the Capitol before commenting on the proposal. “This matter has not been brought to us yet,” she said.
Yap, who mentioned the proposal during the Cipo board meeting, expressed confidence that the Mactan Cebu Bridge Management Board (MCBMB) will approve the proposal.
He said that the excess power to be generated by the solar panels of the bridge lightning project can be used by the grid.
Meco general manager Gilbert Pagobo said in an interview that if the proposal is approved, the solar-powered lighting system can become operational in five to six months.
He said that the P30 million estimated project cost covers the purchase and installation of solar panels, energy-efficient LED (light emitting diode) lights, connection and battery.
“Meco is proposing this project for the benefit of the riding public and motorists,” Pagobo said.
He said that the portion of the bridge that is shaped like an arc may reduce the efficiency of the solar energy system but this can be addressed through the project’s technical design.
He said that Meco is proposing a hybrid design, which uses solar energy while still connected to the grid.
The design will enable the bridge lighting system to get power from the grid even if there is not enough stored solar energy due to cloud formation.
Pagobo said that the project will save the Capitol or the MCBMB monthly electricity bills. He said that if the project is successfully implemented, Meco will look at replicating the system for the Marcelo Fernan Bridge.