Report: Solar Energy Observational Study Mission, July 28-August 1, 2014, Tokyo & Kagoshima, Japan

APO participants to Solar Energy study mission

APO participants to Solar Energy study mission

BACKGROUND OF THE PROJECT

Given the economic growth in Asia, energy consumption is rising dramatically, and renewable energy is becoming a significant industry. Given the public health impact of fossil fuels and fast-growing energy demand, solar energy is considered to play a crucial role in the global energy mix. Especially in rural and remote areas in Asia, solar power is considered one of the most suitable ways to produce energy efficiently and relatively inexpensively.

According to the latest report on the global market outlook from the European Photovoltaic Industry Association, global photovoltaic cumulative installed capacity is expected to more than double from 2012 to 2017 (i.e., from 102 mil KW to 288 mil KW) and Asia’s share, of which Japan is currently responsible for one-third, is expected to increase from 20% to 35%. Japan utilizes some of the latest technologies and products in the field of solar energy.

Given this background, the observational study mission is expected to visit solar energy power plants and exhibition on renewable energy advanced technology in Japan. It will also provide a platform for Japanese firms, especially SMEs, to interact with APO participants for potential future business collaborations.

OBJECTIVES FOR PARTICIPATION

1. To update the know-how regarding current technology on Solar System.
2. To observe the standard practices of technologically advanced countries like Japan regarding the design and installation techniques surrounding Solar Technology that has been well tested and proven by them.
3. The study was in line with the hosting of the exhibition PV Japan 2014 which gathers all the suppliers and manufacturers regarding PV Systems.
4. OSM is a venue to establish contacts with fellow member countries and learn from their previous experiences.
5. To avail whatever products or technology available from other member countries.
6. To further infuse the existence of un-electrified communities in a bigger grid connected society to improve the quality of life.
7. To compare the economics and politics of PV solar energy in the Philippines with other countries. Maybe having PV solar energy is one solution to our poverty if finance properly by our government.

PROFILE OF PARTICIPANTS

There were 21 participants in all from 16 countries including Japan. Two participants each from the following countries: India, Pakistan, Philippines, Sri Lanka and Thailand. One participant each from the following countries: Bangladesh, Cambodia, Fiji, Indonesia, IR Iran, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia, Vietnam, Taiwan and Japan. There are also 2 observers, 1 from Toshiba Japan and 1 from Indonesian Embassy in Japan. Singapore is represented by the lecturer Mr. Christopher Inglin.

There were two Filipino participants who attended the OSM. One is a Professional Electrical Engineer who works as a Project Manager in a private company called Solar & Wind Electric Power (SWEP), Inc. based in Las Piñas City. SWEP is one of the integrators of PV solar and wind systems established since 2007 and retailer of the famous “Sunpower” solar module from USA having manufacturing plant in Batangas.

The other is an Electrical Engineer of an NGO SiBol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), Inc. based in Quezon City. SIBAT has been in the Renewable Energy program for more than 30 years together with its Sustainable Agriculture (SA). To date SIBAT continues to develop RESA communities. By incorporating solar technology thru its water pumping system or solar power system, far flung communities can enjoy normal and quality life.

SCOPE, CONTENT AND METHODOLOGY

Methodology

Observational Study Mission consists of the following:

1. Presentations
2. Interactions with international / local resource people.
3. Interactions with representatives of Japanese agencies / organizations and industries
4. Group discussions
5. Site visits
6. Action plan preparations
7. Question and Answer portion

Scope

1. System approach of Japanese technologist for the development of sustainable energy through case studies of solar energy power.
2. How the industries develop and apply latest PV and solar cell technology thru case studies.
3. Case studies on best practices in solar energy.
4. Uses and functions of solar power sources.
5. Government and private sector’s roles in the introduction of latest technology such as PV power.
6. Merging of Japanese counterparts and APO international / local resource persons thru meetings and interactions.

Content

(1) “Applications of Japanese Environmental Technologies and Policies in Asian Cities”
Dr Tsuyoshi Fujita, National Institute for Environmental Studies, Japan.

Dr Tsuyoshi Fujita emphasized the struggles not only in Japan but also in Asia to combat pollution. He highlighted the strategies to build Japan into a low-carbon society. They have learned their lesson from Tsunani disaster in 2011. Even Nuclear plants are stopped. Now, Japan is so serious toward low-carbon strategies in power generation, so that they are opting to Renewable Energy like the Solar Energy. (Philippines should learn from Japan. Coal and fossil fuels create pollution that creates climate change that destroyed Tacloban City courtesy of typhoon Yolanda.)

(2) “Prospect of Solar Energy in Asia and best practice from Singapore”
Mr. Christophe Inglin, Sustainable Energy Asso. of Singapore & Phoenix Solar Private Ltd.

The resource person from Singapore narrates the success story of Singapore Government to support the Solar System in the currently Net Metering Minus Scheme that has successfully lowered the payback time of Solar System investment to about 6 years. The lesson from the European countries was referred to as a valuable lesson in developing strategies in the Solar System business in Asia. Further, Mr. Inglin enumerated the key factors for a sustainable PV sector: stable conditions, policies and regulations, building a competent sector and financial innovation. He also explained the different approaches in the market support policies of Feed-In-Tariff (FIT) versus PPA (Power
Purchase Agreement) auction. In FIT, building a plant first is necessary in order to connect to a grid. This is an open ended system which everyone can participate making a larger scope for market growth. The earlier the connection, the earlier the system earns so it’s an open chequebook for government. PPA auction on the other hand needs to secure PPA first before building a plant. This is a closed end system that only those who manage to secure PPA can participate so market growth is limited. Coordination of many stakeholders needed so “wait and see” attitude applies. The costs are controlled for government.

(Note: In 2012, the Philippines’ (ERC) has approved feed-in tariffs (FITs) for a number of renewable energy sources. For photovoltaics, a FIT of PhP9.68/kWh has been announced. But as mentioned above “wait and see” attitude applies to solar developers who can jump shot for the 50MW cap.)

(3) “Presentation from Japan Photovoltaic Energy Association (JPEA)”
Mr. Ikumasa Kojima, JPEA, and Mitsubishi Electric Corporation

JPEA has been around since 1987 with 156 members to date composed mostly system integrators, manufacturers, construction, academe, etc. Mr. Kohima relayed the success of the association in promoting PV use in Japan because of the uptrend of yearly PV installation of residential use and domestic shipment of PV.

(4) Mobile PV Systems “Sunshine in your pocket. Sunshine to go”
Mr. Makoto Sudo, President, Studio Del Sole Incorporated, leading SME in solar power battery

The role of SME’s in the field of Solar Technology was emphasized by Mr. Makoto Sudo by presenting its new innovations surrounding solar technology. Different kinds of solar panels were presented to us to have a hands-on experience in their product. The portability of such system was highlighted in almost all of the products complete with battery systems. General purpose home lighting applications can be achieved thru their products. Such system would greatly benefit those who are in the field of maritime, aviation, emergency response and the like.

(05) ”Eco-solutions”
Mr. Meiji Sato, Nippon Steel & Sumitomo Technologies

While we are in the bus going to Elm Inc. to see the famous PV Solar Tracker, Mr. Meiji Sato asks us “Which is happier, you or your grandson?” Nobody replied. Then he asked again same question but added more words “Which is happier environmentally, socially, economically, you or your grandson’s generation? Obviously he’s referring to “Sustainable Development” (development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs).

(6) ”PV ELM Inc. ”
Mr. Takakazu Tom Miyahara, CEO

ELM Inc. is award winning SME from the Ministry of Economic, Trade and Industry. One of their products is the PV Solar Tracker which can generate more electricity than fixed type. Others are LEDs and the famous color kinetics in the buildings. They are also in R&D.

(7) “Kagoshima Prefectural Government”
Introduction of Kagoshima Prefectural Government

Kagoshima in southern Japan is known for its puffing volcano Sakurajima, green tea, and rocket launch pads. Now it has a new superlative — the country’s largest solar plant.

(8) “Courtesy visit “
Mr. Yuichiro Ito, Governor of Kagoshima Prefecture

The Governor met each one of the APO country members and exchanged visiting cards. He also spoke about the feasibility of re-opening the nuclear facility in Kagoshima. In the meantime without nuclear power, the prefecture as well as Japan as a whole is presently undertaking austerity measures to save energy by setting the aircon temperature to 28 degrees centigrade.

(9) Presentation on “Renewable Energy Policies of Kagoshima Prefecture”

The Renewable Energy Policies of Kagoshima Prefecture was already outlined long time ago with the existence of the nuclear power availability in the region. But because of the Great East Japan Earthquake that devastated the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power plant, the overall closure of all nuclear power plant in Japan was put on review. The old plan that was outlined before the Earthquake has to be revised to cater the increase in power demand.

As a results of introduction of renewable energy, from an original targets of 592,000 kW for PV was targeted in the 2011 Vision for FY 2020 but during the review of the Kagoshima Prefecture’s Vision for the Introduction of RE in July, 2014 a new target for the end of Fiscal Year 2020 was set at 1,000,000 kW for PV alone. Currently the Prefecture is at 147,340 kW for the end of FY 2012 for PV.

(10) “Kyocera’s Kagoshima Mega Solar Power Plant”
Japan’s largest scale solar plant

To summarize, the most interesting and inspiring project that Japan has undergone in terms of PV technology as it was well planned and designed to cater the current needs of the area. The site of the mega solar installation was an abandoned reclamation area intended for shipbuilding facilities that has gone sour. Then the solar power plant was conceptualized and pushed through to generate a 70 MW capacity to the grid. The Solar Power Plant was built with the latest installation techniques capable of withstanding more than 100 kph of wind. A lighter and therefore cheaper kind of clamp (mounting bracket) was developed just for this project enabling a significant savings in the budget. Also, the modular type of concrete footing was developed for easier and more flexible installation. Visiting the site was very rewarding. The tour officer who was involved in the installation answered all the questions of the participants without any reservations. The grounding and lightning system of the whole installation was highlighted to be of great importance in the design as lightning strike was experienced during the construction phase.

Facts about the mega solar power plant:

• Nearly 300,000 offshore Kyocera solar panels provide enough power for 22,000 homes and takes up about 314 acres, roughly three times the total area of Vatican City.
• Mega Solar Power Plant sits in the shadow of Sakurajima, an active volcano.
• The move to PV solar energy comes as Japan struggles with energy sources as nuclear power plants were shut down after meltdowns hit Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima plant in 2011.
• SMA from Germany delivers 140 Sunny Central 500CP-JP inverters, which have been specially adapted to the requirements of the Japanese market. The inverters guarantee the highest yields for
large scale PV plants of more than 500 kilowatts. They can also be installed outdoors thanks to their robust enclosure.
• Annual production = 78,800 MWh
• Additionally, SMA will supply 1,260 Sunny String-Monitors for monitoring the entire plant.
• It will sell electricity generated to the local utility, Kyushu Electric Power Co.
• A Japanese government program that began in 2012 compels utilities to buy 100 percent of electricity from certain renewable energy power plants.
• To spread its solar philosophy, the Kagoshima plant hopes to attract tourists, students, and other visitors to an observation room overlooking the installation, which joins other photovoltaic attractions in Japan such as the Sanyo Solar Ark.

(11) “Leading SME and supplier to mega solar plant “
Nankoh Company Limited

Nankoh Company Limited has helped in the overall success of the Kagoshima Mega Solar Plant. One successful design is the supply of supporting clamp (mounting bracket) of the Solar Frame used in this project enabling less weight at the same strength thru tests conducted utilizing wind tunnel simulation tests.

(12) PV Japan 2014 Presentations in FIT, Energy Policy and PV Energy

(13) “PV Japan 2014 Exhibition (Tokyo Big Sight)”
Organized by the JPEA

The exhibition was an eye opener showcasing all businesses relating to Solar System. High tech hybrid car was seen in the exhibition. Big players on PV System were all present in the exhibition. Solar PV panels came in with so much choices including huge selection of installation techniques and materials.

(14) “Networking Reception”
Attended by delegates from the Japanese government, academia and enterprises.

PV Japan 2014 Exhibition hosted a banquet attended by VIP delegates from the Japanese government, academia, enterprises and APO.

(15) “Group Discussions: Lessons learnt”
Led by Mr. Christophe Inglin and APO

From the grid matrix above we have learned that the Philippines is one of the Asian countries which have a high cost of electricity. Malaysia, Iran, Vietnam and Indonesia are countries which enjoy low cost of electricity and strong grid stability. Countries which have the lowest cost of electricity but weak grid stability are Pakistan, Laos, Bangladesh and Mongolia.

(16) “Action Plan Presentations “
Mr. Christophe Inglin, Dr. Fujita and APO Philippine country paper submitted as below for the action plan presentation 3 year PV market goal.

Actually, the government has a long term PV market goal.

In 2004, a grid-connected centralized solar photovoltaic (PV) power plant was put up in Cagayan de Oro City, which is the largest in the region. Existing Industry player Cagayan Electric Power & Light Co., Inc. built this (1MW) in this city that uses 6500 polycrystalline silicon solar panels (made in Japan) on a 2-hectare area. Gaining from its successful experience, CEPALCO envisions to install 20MW plant on a 30 hectare lot within its service territory.

Presently, the Department of Energy has awarded 1 solar energy service contract, Aurora Special Economic Zone Authority for its 1MW solar farm in Aurora province. There are 49 other solar energy service contracts still for review by the Department of Energy. Based on the declarations of commerciality (DOC) issued by the Department of Energy. DOE Director Mario Marasigan said three firmed up project proposals will have aggregate capacity of 80 megawatts – a level higher than the 50MW solar installation cap.

These are the 20MW Currimao Solar Power Project in Ilocos Norte by Mirae Asia Energy Corporation; 30MW Rodriguez Solar Power Project in Rizal by ATN Philippines Solar Energy Group Inc., and 30MW Leyte Solar Power Project by Phil Solar Farm Leyte, Inc. If the projects under evaluation will also be accounted for, the total megawatt-installations lodged with the DOE could reach as high as 150MW. Four projects with combined capacity of 20MW are under preliminary evaluation, including the proposed 5.0MW solar facility in Morong, Bataan; another 5.0MW project in San Rafael, Bulacan; 5.0MW in Palauig, Zambales; and 5.0MW in Mexico, Pampanga.

The DOE roster also showed four other projects being required to submit compliant five-year work plan. These are the 10MW Clark Freeport Zone project in Pampanga; 5.0MW Cavite Export Zone solar project; 35MW Darong Solar project and 10MW Digos solar in Davao del Sur.

The Department of Energy noted that the solar developers are also in a tight race on their project completion given the ‘first-come, first served policy’ of the government on the grant of the feedin-tariff (FIT) subsidy. He explained that the FIT allotment will still go to the first 50MW which would reach commercial commissioning.

Major Challenges foresee in achieving this PV market goal

Many of the solar developers, however, are no longer counting on the FIT subsidy given the significant drop in the cost of the technology and the options presented by other policy opportunities, such as net metering and powering the off-grid areas. (References: Board of Investment, Bulletin today)

1. In the case of remote communities in the Phils. especially those that are devastated by the super typhoon Haiyan, NGO’s in the Phils. particularly SIBAT, the institution where yours truly belongs plan to install PV Hybrid Water System in the devastated areas of Samar and Leyte. As a start we have 12 water system on the line to be implemented in the devastated areas of Guiuan, Eastern Samar and Tolosa, Leyte aside from other existing projects. Each system comprises a solar array of 12-100W modules to pump water to a water storage tank to provide water to the devastated communities. Further the plan for the communities to have an alternative power source aside from the grid becomes an additional advantage. In a country wherein the FIT is high, the system will become attractive in a standalone scheme where batteries are incorporated in the system. Small communities then can be a model to show that a Hybrid System can work even incorporating a Micro Hydro Power where it exists and be replicated all over the country. Within 3 years when the time comes that the government realizes the unsustainable condition of fossil fuel consumption, then most communities will be ready to be connected to the grid and can even earn.

2. In a third world country, funds always run out but by addressing the community with the viability of the project and asking them to organize and contribute to do the labor and tariff charges; the scheme is feasible considering that other NGO’s like Oxfam, Misereor and other bigger NGO’s can contribute or where there are no dole outs communities can even resort to micro financing NGO’s.

3. With the help of PV Technology available in Japan (e.g., Kyocera, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba) a blueprint of a Hybrid System can be generated to cater a standalone system in small communities even tapping their Social Corporate responsibilities to share their technology to less privileged communities to provide discounted PV system. APO/NPO on the other hand can support these plans thru its member countries to share experiences gathered from each country. APO/NPO can also relay/report to the relevant Authorities (Gov’t. licensing Authorities, etc.) our concerns regarding FIT and tax incentives or even Financing Schemes if so possible. While these problems are not yet addressed, NGO’s will work hard to implement these projects to show the government the viability of such RE System thru PO (People’s Organization).

(17) “Wrap-up of the program”
Mr. Inglin and Dr Fujita

OUTCOMES AND EVALUATION

Overall the OSM has surpassed our expectations regarding the program. The methodology was well designed to satisfy all aspect in the mission’s objectives. The resource persons were very good especially Mr. Christophe Inglin who is very effective in his presentations. Attendees were updated regarding the latest available technology surrounding PV System. In visiting the host country Japan, the participants were able to observe the standard practices used in their design and installation which by far has been well tested and proven in the industry. The timely hosting of the exhibition PV Japan 2014 which gathers the suppliers and manufacturers regarding PV Systems has provided the APO members to exploit all the available products and know-how with regards to PV Technology. Innovation, best practices / techniques and new products were evident in the different booths in the exhibition. One cannot deny that the problems previously encountered in Solar Projects were more or less found solutions in this venue.

The convergence of the APO member nations was well appreciated complementing each other. Countries like Japan, India, and Pakistan who have the capacity to produce PV panels can supply it to their counterpart.

The main advocacy of NGO groups to extend the technical know-how to far flung communities in order to improve their quality of life was well expressed and taken. The significance with Solar Technology was further confirmed especially in stand alone scheme where connecting to the grid via transmission lines is expensive. Hybrid design in these areas is of great importance and can be implemented notwithstanding the capability of integrating to the grid in the near future.

The knowledge gained will be spread by sharing it to everybody since we are all end user of electricity. The Facebook in the net is the best medium for information drive about solar energy. DAP’s checklist (RSVC of APO form) which enumerates activities such as presenting to colleagues in the organization, prepare an article, visit organization, etc will be very helpful.

RECOMMENDATIONS AND ACTION STEPS

Fellow APO member countries have reiterated to continue OSM’s in order to keep up with each other’s resources and experiences. Lessons learned from pioneering countries like Japan can be disseminated by other less experienced countries like the Philippines to replicate those that worked for them and to avoid those that did not. Policies surrounding PV System that has become successful just like that of Singapore’s Net Metering-Minus Scheme can be applied here in the Philippines.

Pakistan government for example has long been successful in producing PV panels and still planning to invest more on equipment. India was also commendable for making Solar System big business not only for their own consumption but already catering to neighboring countries.

In the case of remote communities in the Phils., NGO’s particularly SIBAT (the institution where Rodel belongs) plan to install PV Hybrid Water System in the typhoon-devastated areas of Samar and Leyte. As a start we have 12 water system on the line to be implemented in the devastated areas of Guiuan, Eastern Samar and Tolosa, Leyte aside from other existing projects. Each system comprises a solar array of 24-100W modules to pump water to a water storage tank to provide water to the devastated communities. Further, the plan for the communities to have an alternative power source aside from the grid becomes an additional advantage. In a country wherein the FIT is high, the system will become attractive in a standalone scheme where batteries are incorporated in the system. Small communities then can be a model to show that a Hybrid System can work even incorporating a Micro Hydro Power where it exists and be replicated all over the country. Within 3 years when the time comes that the government realizes the unsustainable condition of fossil fuel consumption and decided to support Solar grid-tied connections, then most communities who followed the solar scheme will be ready to be connected to the grid and can even earn.

The hydro power in combination with solar power is one solution to cover the peak demand esp. in the provinces. Our typical load profile of which prime time starts from 6pm to 11pm. The solar system during the night is useless because there is no power generation. During the day, the solar system pumps water up to high reservoir. It will then be the job of the hydro power to run during peak hours.

In a third world country, funds always run out. But by addressing the community with the viability of the project, we can and ask them to organize and contribute to do the labor and tariff charges. The scheme is feasible considering that other NGO’s like Oxfam, Misereor and other bigger NGO’s can contribute or where there are no dole outs, communities can even resort to micro financing NGO’s.

With the help of PV Technology available in Japan (e.g., Kyocera, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Toshiba) a blueprint of a Hybrid System can be generated to cater a standalone system in small communities. Japanese companies can even tap their social corporate responsibilities to share their technology to less privileged communities to provide discounted PV system. APO / NPO on the other hand can support these plans thru its member countries to share experiences. APO / NPO can also relay / report to the relevant Authorities (Govt. licensing Authorities, etc.) our concerns regarding FIT, net metering, subsidies and tax incentives or even Financing Schemes if so possible. While these problems, maybe, are not yet addressed, NGO’s will work hard to implement its projects to show the government the viability of such RE System thru PO (People’s Organization).

With the realization that the Philippines has one of the highest cost per kilowatt-hour along the region, the government should support the household level of connecting to the grid and buying the electricity in a fair price. Solar home system will mushroom and renewable energy would prove reliable to cater one’s power needs.

Amidst the chaos in racing to sell solar technology, very few were concerned about environmental issues with regards to long term effect on the environment. The vegetation is hampered from growing because of such installations. A thorough study should be commissioned by the concerned government agencies like DENR, DA, DOST, etc. so that mitigating factors can be created to ensure long term benefits in this new way of power generation. Above all, in the advent of Solar System proliferation, the government should outline policies that would support the true meaning of RE without sacrificing any vegetation or greenery. Government agencies concerned should participate in outlining solar installations especially solar farms that occupies considerable space. Sand dunes areas like that of Fort Ilocandia should be one best example to ideally build solar farms where vegetation is not abundant.

If possible, no trees should be cut in place of a solar installation!

As it has been said many times, the Philippines is rich in natural treasure. We are in the equatorial line, it means that we can harvest free electricity from the sun about 5 kWh per/m². I think we are higher than 3.6 kWh/ m² of Japan. However we do not have solar machineries to produce solar panels. The government and the rich companies in our country should think about investing manufacturing solar panels. Just remember: “It’s more sun in the Philippines”

SUBMITTED BY:

ENGR. RODEL A. SALVADOR
Electrical Engineer
SiBol ng Agham at Teknolohiya (SIBAT), Inc.
Quezon City, 1100

ENGR. NOEL G. DELOS SANTOS
Project Manager
Solar & Wind Electric Power (SWEP), Inc.
Las Piñas City

 

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s