| Fact Sheets of Selected Photovoltaic Applications |
Approximately 80 percent of the world's 5.3 billion people live in rural areas of developing countries, most of them with no access to electricity. Sunrise and sunset still mark the beginning and end of the working day.
In the Philippines, an archipelago of some 2,800 inhabited islands, the "urban luxury" of electricity is still far away for 65 percent of the population. Only in a few cases is electric power produced by stand-alone generator sets. Social life in the evenings is usually extended for a couple of hours by a kerosene lamp.
There is no doubt that electricity spurs the social and economic development of rural areas: Often the availability of electric power is decisive for the supply of good drinking water, the conservation of food, the storage of medical supplies, telecommunications, radio, TV, etc.
It is obvious that along the anticipated path of development, many developing countries will increase their energy consumption. A large part of it will be covered by conventional sources like oil and coal. This will contribute to a steady increase in the world's carbon-dioxide (CO2) production.
Solar panels are one of the very few CO2-free energy converters. Today, for a range of applications, they are a technically feasible and economically viable alternative to fossil fuels. A solar cell can directly convert the sun's irradiation to electricity based on a physical process that requires no moving parts. This results in a relatively long service life of solar generators.
At present about 42 Megawatts of solar panels are installed around the globe. 50 Kilowatts are in operation in the Philippines. This may seem quite impressive, but on the other hand one should not forget that a single coal-fired thermal powerplant may have a (day-and-night) capacity of 600 Megawatt.
Solar radiation provides us at zero cost with 10,000 times more energy than is actually used. Most developing countries receive as much as 50 to 100 percent more insolation than countries in temperate zones. Nevertheles, solar or photo-voltaic (PV) systems do not come for free: The introduction of such a new technology takes time and effort. The financial barrier (especially regarding the initial investment) is too high for many enterprises and families, especially in countries like the Philippines. Adequate financing schemes are a necessary prerequisite if this technology ever is to make serious progress in areas without access to other sources of electricity.
Roughly 10 years after the introduction of photo-voltaics in the Philippines and after a serious local research and development effort, several PV applications are ready for introduction and marketing on a massive scale. Of special interest are relatively simple systems such as Solar Home Systems. They may have a tremendous impact on rural development by supplying minimal amounts of electric power to each individual household. Also for some other applications e.g. telecommunication facilities in remote parts of the country, PV is a viable option. In the immediate future, PV component quality control will be of crucial importance for the successful introduction of this technology.
For all areas which, owing to physical or economic constraints, cannot be reached by conventional power supply systems, PV technology can now be considered an alternative option for rural electrification
This document provides an overview of the potential and the general impact of various PV applications in the Philippines, as well as an indication of the need for additional research and development. The majority of these applications was (field)tested under the recently completed Philippine-German Solar Energy Project (PGSEP), financed by the German Ministry for Economic Cooperation in Bonn. The energy requirement, technical design, economic analysis of the PV system and its direct conventional competitor, plus an indication of the specific market potential, are presented on separate fact sheets. Each fact sheet covers one application. Some specific country data, relevant energy prices and PV component prices are to be found in the Country Fact Sheet. A coloured overview summarizes all fact sheets. An explanation of all methods (i.c. economic analysis and system design) and assumptions precedes the fact sheets.
This study was conducted by ITW-Consulting Ltd. on behalf of GTZ. Persons involved: P.H.A. de Bakker, K.M. Schulte.