Press Release
November 17, 2010


The Congressional Commission on Science Technology and Engineering (COMSTE) is working with First Philec to open a Philippine solar testing facility next month in Batangas.

Senator Edgardo J. Angara, Chair of COMSTE, said that the facility is a Public Private Partnership (PPP) that can test different types of solar modules, arrays, and balance of systems components for optimal output in tropical conditions.

The test facility would ideally be a, "clearinghouse of engineering information on price, performance, reliability of state of the art Photovoltaic (PV) components," noted Angara.

Angara said that the solar testing facility marks the beginning of the proposed Renewable Energy Research and Development Institute (RERDI), which is set to expand the Renewable Energy industry of the country.

"Developing innovative Renewable Energy Systems can aid in achieving the long term goal of energy independence. With RERDI, we can fully utilize Public Private Partnerships and our ties with neighboring countries to stimulate growth in the RE power sector," said Angara.

The Philippine Solar Power Association (PSPA) recently presented data showing their proposed solar installation target up to 2013. Members of the PSPA have submitted plans to the Renewable Energy Management Bureau of the Department of Energy for service contacts of up to 350 megawatts.

COMSTE was part of a Philippine delegation that went to Taiwan recently to meet with the heads of more than 15 solar companies and encourage them to send their solar cells for testing at the new solar testing facility.

Dr. Shigero Niki of Japan's National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, who heads their Solar Research and Testing Laboratory, expressed interest in sending PV for testing in the Philippines, noting that a testing facility here would be able to identify the proper engineering and technology for PV arrays and components which would be ideal for tropical conditions.

Dr. Janglin Chen of Taiwan's Industrial Technology Research Institute (ITRI) also expressed interest in collaborating with COMSTE as it further develops the solar testing facility.

Other projects selected by COMSTE for the RERDI are solar cooling assessment, development and demonstration program by the Philippine Green Building Council (PHILGBC)/Institute of Industrial Electrical Engineers/ the De La Salle University and the study of algae as a biofuel. A team composed of members from Ateneo University, Alson Aquacutlure Inc., and two other photo bio-reactor companies aims to study optimal conditions that will promote the growth of algae and the cleaning of coal fired plants by placing nearby aquaculture ponds.

Power, hybrid RE systems, alternative fuels from solid residue, biodiesel production and development, gasohol related process development, and materials development for energy applications are also tagged as priorities for RERDI.

According to the Department of Energy, the Philippines Energy Mix, solar, wind, and micro-hydro power accounts for less than 1% of the mix, which is dominated by imported oil at 34%.

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