By Myrna M. Velasco
Power utility giant Manila Electric Company (Meralco) finally got its micro-grid venture off the ground with its pioneering electrification of Isla Verde in Batangas, an island-mode domain within its service area.
The utility firm said the energization initiative was concretized via the installation of a 32-kilowatt solar panel and 192 kilowatt-hour battery storage, which it had undertaken in collaboration with the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and the local government unit-hosts.
Meralco had given word that Isla Verde will serve as its kick-off point on its plunge into micro-grid ventures following the Department of Energy’s (DOE) stern call on it to either electrify the area or waive it to another investor-taker.
But Meralco executives firmly gave their commitment to the energy department that the island will certainly “see the light” under the business aegis of the utility firm – hence, leading to the commercial inauguration of Isla Verde’s micro grid system Friday last week.
As noted by the power company, “the project is Meralco’s first solar microgrid,” in reference to a smaller scale power grid operated independently from the interconnected network in an electricity system. Meralco indicated that 30 households were already given access to electricity service.
Isla Verde is a pristine destination accessible only by a one-and-a-half-hour boat ride, hence, it was an extreme challenge for the island to be connected to the main power grid.
But with the rollout of innovative microgrid solutions, the island can finally gain its long-time quest for reliable electricity service, which in turn could spur economic activities in the area.
Micro-grid developers are placing their bets on renewable energy technologies plus battery storage as an integrated solution that could bring electricity access to isolated islands and far-flung areas.