Saturday, November 29, 2014

Isolated and Far-flung Public Schools Should Now Go to Solar Energy

By:  Gilbert M. Forbes

Electrical power for isolated and far-flung schools (off-grid or far from power lines) now a days is already within reach through the use of solar energy.  Not only that DepEd has established partnerships with different NGO providers, but also, solar power energy hard wares' prices through the years have decreased tremendously.  
Cabul-an National High School.  A beneificiary of One Meralco Foundation.

If the school leadership wants it fast, aside from contacting or soliciting the help of possible NGO donors, what is just needed is the drive to motivate the stakeholders or the community to hold a fund drive and combine financial resources.  With this, no more queuing, no more waiting. For as low as Php25,000.00, any off-grid schools with the Parent Teacher Association on the lead could install solar power in their respective schools.  

This set-up is enough to power an LCD or LED TV, a laptop pc and an electric fan. In other words, enough to operate multi-media equipment and basic office equipment, and so the multi-media for classroom use of course.  Since, electrical power is one of the requirements of DepEd's Computerization Program; this type of electrical connection package is a good start so as to fast track the receiving of the said package.  It is also best to start small so that along the way, somebody will learn basic issues regarding its operation, performance, and maintenance.
Basic components of this set-up usually include a 1000-watts sine-wave inverter.  12- Volt deep cycle battery, at least 100Ah, 100-200watts monocrystaline solar panels, solar charge controller, wirings and other connecting paraphernalia.

The only major challenge in operating renewable energy system such as this is maintenance.  But all these are easy to learn as long as willingness is strong.  Electronics technicians’ even electricians could also be asked to assist and should be made to witness the installation process so that somebody in the community knows what to do, much less, the teachers.  In this manner, orientation from the installer must be part of the package.

Aside from the maintenance, the following should also be the main considerations:  First, estimated daily power usage by computing the power requirements of the gadgets and hard wares your school intend to use initially; second, budget or source of funds; third, target supplier and installer’s record; fourth, maintenance requirement; and fifth, learning the basics.   Read more at this link 5 Things to Consider When Planning to Install Solar Energy Systems

Benefits of Solar Power

Benefits of Solar power particularly in off-grid areas are simply amazing.  It would not only enable the school to use multi-media in instruction as they could already power their devices, but as long as there is a cellphone network signal, using their laptops and mobile modems could also connect itself to the internet making learning more interesting. 

They could also provide ICT instruction not only to the pupils and students but even to the community. The clean, free and renewable electricity available in the school cab become an added incentive for pupils to go to, and stay, in school since it is a place where they can also charge their cellphones while pursuing their education.

Another value added by the electrification is that it could become a revenue generator for the school’s parent-teacher-association (PTA) which they could use to maintain it and the excess in other equally important things.  More importantly, the impact that it will create to the community is imaginable, economically and socially.

Just immediately after typhoon Glenda passed his residence in Tayabas City, Quezon.  The writer immediately ventured on buying a mini solar power generator to light their sar-sari store which they are using until now.  The writer also motivated to research and read a lot on solar energy home and school installation of both off-grid and grid-tie systems. Solar energy use has now become part of his environment's personal advocacy.
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