Solar-powered systems in Almagro, Samar

Rehabilitation of solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems in Brgy. Bacjao, Almagro, Samar

 

Solar-powered systems is very important in today’s generation in order to help reduce carbon emissions and mitigate climate change. In the age of sustainable development, communities needs to adapt technologies that are sustainable.

However, with the influx of technology today still there are some communities that is left behind in terms of community development.

Development is lagging in the country side because of poor access to resources that includes social capital, technical know-how, and financial resources. Not only access to these resources but also the geographic location.

When I was a child my family lived in Camotes Island, Cebu City. Infrastructures like roads and transportation are very important in development. It attracts investors and other tourist to visit and invest in the island. However, at that time Camotes Island is not yet fully developed. No tourist, and the place itself is like a ghost town. My brother and I call it in vernacular “napag-iwanan ng panahon” which is in translated in English “left behind through the years.”

It’s been along time since I haven’t visited there but many of my colleagues said that the island is now developed in terms of tourism and livelihood.

Now, while working in a college university I happened to encounter this peculiar situation of a small island in Calbayog City.

Before I share to you the content of the entire article, let me first acknowledge the team behind this. They are a team of experts in engineering and technology.

By the way, what you are about to read is an extension proposal submitted for funding. The rest of the article here is prepared by the extension agent itself Engr. Noemi A. Majait.

The Experts

They are Engr. Noemi A. Majait, Engr. Joseph Marian B. Romano, Mr. Richard Talon, Mr. Leopoldo Negros, Engr. Merary C. Ca-ang, Mr. Damaso Saliwan, Dr. Ernesto Guades, Engr. OtiliaTaduyo, Mrs. Jenith T. Salem and Mrs. Editha M. Bucalin.

Being an expert in such field is a priviledge to help build a community that can sustain itself. It’s the essence and job of the researcher and development worker.

In the beginning

Not so long ago, the Australian Agency for International Development (Australian AID) also known as AusAID – an Australian government agency responsible for managing Australia’s overseas aid program, funded the Municipal Solar Infrastructure Project (MSIP) is one of the completed Rural Development and Health Program of AusAIDfrom 1997-2006 which uses solar energy as an “enabling technology” to target specific needs and upgrade basic facilities in remote un-electrified communities.

With an Australian grant of A$37 million, MSIP installed 1,000 solar powered systems in 370 barangays in 49 municipalities in the Visayas and Mindanao. Beneficiary villages were remote from the material electricity grid. The solar powered systems currently provide power to rural clinics, schools, community centers, water supply systems, and communal area lights.

AusAID program aims to assist developing countries to reduce poverty and achieve .AusAID’s program leads the way in the fight against preventable diseases including polio in the Pacific region and funded measles and polio immunizations for more than 1.5 million children in Papua New Guinea. It also works to improve the quality of basic services such as water supply and sanitation programs.

One of the municipalities in Visayas region that benefited from the project in 2000 is Almagro Samar. Many barangays in its municipality has been provided with solar energy that meets their basic needs in water pumps and lighting.

Although training’s were provided to municipal operatives, municipal engineers, and universities for each town to support the system which includes the municipality of Almagro, Samar, some of these solar-powered systems are no longer functioning due to various reasons.

Community Development Project Intervention

The captain of Barangay Bacjao contacted Northwest Samar State University (NwSSU) thru the office of Research, Extension, and External Affairs (REEA) asking for a rehabilitation assistance for the said solar-powered systems in their area, particularly their water supply and street lighting systems.

The College of Engineering and Technology (CET) is composed of experts that could handle such assistance, and therefore, responded to this request.

Rehabilitation and restoring the working condition of the solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems of Brgy.Bacjao, Almagro Samar is the main objective of this extension project.

To ensure the sustainability of the working condition of the solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems, the College of Engineering and Technology of NwSSU provides training in related technical field as technology transfer.

How we do it

The solar-powered systems of Brgy.Bacjao, Almagro Samar that will be rehabilitated consists of two related, yet independent systems: the water supply system and the street lighting system.

The rehabilitation programs of solar powered water system will be implemented in three phases:

Phase 1: Launching program and site assessment

Site Assessment at Almagro Island
Site Assessment at Brgy. Almagro

The launching and assessment of site will be implemented during the first weekend of the activities where a report of the assessment together with the list of required materials will be submitted and deliberated to the barangay council for their procurement.

 The barangay council will inform the team of the schedule of delivery of the materials, and only then, will the team prepare for the rehabilitation phase of the project, which will commence on the second weekend of the activities.

The training sessions, evaluation, and closing program shall be implemented within an estimated three (3) succeeding days. Therefore, it will be scheduled on the next possible week as soon as the rehabilitation is finished.

 Phase 2: Rehabilitation of the systems

This phase includes two activities: 1) site assessment and 2) rehabilitation system.

SITE ASSESSMENT

Solar powered water supply
Solar powered water supply

At this moment, the solar-powered water supply and street lighting systems of Barangay Bacjao, Almagro Samar is currently non-functioning with its solar panel and other accessories dismantled and/or is not functional. The photo in the left shows the solar powered water system where in the solar panels are already gone and it is not functional anymore.

It is assumed that some of its parts also need replacement or clean-up. An assessment of the site and its system is needed to determine the required materials as well as the cost of the rehabilitation. It also needs to specify what particular jobs to be done. The assessment of the systems will be divided according to its functionality and will be handled by a group of expert accordingly from various field of expertise such as electrical, electronics, and structural engineering.

REHABILITATION OF THE SYSTEMS

For smooth rehabilitation process, the job to be undertaken will be assigned according to the expertise of the different groups. The power distributions of the water supply and street lighting systems will be handled by the Electrical group. At the same time, the electronic circuitry of the system, particularly, the photovoltaic cells, secondary battery, inverters, and water pump power source will be handled by the Electronics group. Moreover, the water storage structure and its distribution system will be assigned to the Structure group. Nevertheless, the appointed maintenance trainees must be there to observe the rehabilitation process for their reference.

Phase 3: MAINTENANCE TRAINING

Training sessions, evaluation and monitoring.

After the rehabilitation, there will be a series of training for the appointed technical trainees to ensure the sustainability of future maintenance of the systems.

The training will be categorized according to the different functionality of the systems and will be implemented and supervised by the group of experts.

Training 1: Safety precautions: how to handle electricity

Trainor/s:       Engr. Merary C. Ca-ang

Training 2: Basic electrical: Power distributions of water supply and street lighting systems

Trainor/s:       Mr. DamasoSaliwan

Training 3: Basic electronics: Photovoltaic cells, secondary battery, inverter, and water pump power source

Trainor/s:       Engr. J.M Romano/Engr. Noemi Majait

Training 4: Troubleshooting: Solar powered water supply and street lighting systems

            Trainor/s:       Mr. Leopoldo Negros/Mr. Richard Talon

Training 5: Structural design: water storage structure and its distribution

                        Trainor/s:       Dr. Ernesto Guades/Engr. Otilia Taduyo

 

What we hoped for?

The activities outlined in this project aims to achieve sustainable community development. Such community development ideas and project is helpful in creating a sustainable living in the country side.

However, one of the factors that could affect its implementation and achieving this sustainable development goal is financing.

The project cost proposal is only Php 41, 000 from the extension implementers counter part, while for the beneficiary is Php 91, 000.

From the initial activity, according to one of the member of the project, Php 91,000 is just enough to rehabilitate one street lighting facility.

If you are going to visit Almagro Island, the entire island depends solely on this street lighting system.

Just imagine if you spend your night in a beautiful island without electricity or street light.

Not only that, most of the people are engage in fishing as livelihood. They set sail and sometimes arrived midnight everyday. Light is very important in that island and without it people become inefficient at work.

Again, sustainable development is sometimes geographically determined. Like the case of Almagro Island and the rest of island towns in the Philippines which is unreachable by electricity.

Thankfully, with the technologies today like alternative solar energy, wind power and the like, people can now live in a sustainable way. However, financing is one way to get things done. But for sure, the one who will be reading this one would like to see a community that is self sufficient with the help of solar power.

As of now, the solar-powered water supply has no more solar panels which is very important in the system.

Thus, as blogger, owner of this site, with the team of extension agent seek your support to this cause.

Together let us create a sustainable community project.

Let us help rehabilitate their solar powered water supply and street lighting.

If you like this cause, please contact us.

Or like and share this article to your friends who can help.

Will be waiting for you on the other side.

God bless!

 

 

                                                                       

                                              

 

 

 

REFERENCES:

  1. Australia’s Overseas Aid Program 2007 08. Retrieved 2014-06-10 from http://www.ausaid.gov.au
  1. McDermott, James E. Horne; Maura (2001). The next green revolution: essential steps to a healthy, sustainable agriculture. New York [u.a.]: Food Products Press. p. 226. ISBN 1560228865.
  1. A New Intelligent Control Terminal of Solar Street Light. Retrieved 2011-07-12 from http://www.ieeexplore.ieee.org