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close this bookPhotovoltaic Household Electrification Programs - Best Practices (WB)
close this folderAnnex 1 : ASTAE case studies in PV household electrification
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIndonesia
View the documentSri Lanka
View the documentThe Philippines
View the documentThe Dominican Republic
View the documentConclusions

The Philippines

18. The Philippines has had 20 years of experience with PV technology, yet such applications are still perceived as a means of "pre-electrification" rather than a permanent rural energy solution. Solar home system dissemination has been dominated by two rural PV electrification programs implemented under a bilateral agreement between the Government of the Philippines and the German Government. Besides government programs which have disseminated about 500 systems to date, about 10 local private companies supply solar home systems, selling 100-150 units annually to help bring electricity to a few of the more than 6 million Filipino families not connected to the grid.

19. In 1982, the Philippine-German Solar Energy Project (PGSEP) installed a 13-kWp PV plant, which was later found to be uneconomical due to its high capital investment. The project began to focus on solar home systems and communal battery-charging stations. Demand grew more than PGSEP could accommodate, leading to the Special Energy Program (SEP), initiated in 1987. The strategy of SEP is to distribute small solar home systems in clustered sites, gradually increasing the demand for electricity and area covered, until grid extension becomes an economic alternative. The SEP has developed site-selection criteria, which include: rural areas not included in near-term electrification plans; an approved Rural Electrification Cooperative (REC) to ensure quality servicing and fee collection; selection of adjacent RECs to facilitate program monitoring and servicing; at least 20 users in clusters within one day's travel time; an assessment of the ability and willingness to pay the down payment and monthly fees; and a local NGO or Barangay Power Association (BAPA) that can assume responsibility for collections, maintenance, monitoring, and safe, unrestricted access with regard to weather and political environment.

20. The SEP procures solar home systems on behalf of the RECs in bulk (50 systems per procurement package) and receives bulk discounted prices. The cooperatives then sell the systems to the users who pay cash for the balance of systems (BOS), except for the battery control unit (BCU), and make monthly payments for the module and controller. This initial payment is considered a connection fee, similar to the fee charged for household grid service connection. Local technicians from the REC respond to system problems and are generally responsible for installation, trouble-shooting and maintenance. New batteries are acquired by users from the RECs in exchange for old ones, which are then recycled.

21. The BAPA staff are responsible for fee collection and system monitoring. The users are trained in routine operation and maintenance practices and in load management. Users receive a manual in a "comic book" style. Service response by the REC technicians was mostly within two days and favorably perceived by the users. Unlike the solar home systems, the communal PV power systems and battery-charging stations established under the SEP had limited success due to the unclear delegation of responsibilities.

22. A typical solar home system has a 53-Wp PV module, a lead-acid automotive battery, a BCU, switches, a DC/DC voltage converter, a junction box, and five lamps. Systems generate 130 to 206 watt-hours (win) per day, depending on the location and weather conditions. A solar home system supplied on the average about 140 Wh/day, enough energy to operate one fluorescent light for 3 hours, one compact fluorescent light for 4 hours, and one radio for 12 hours. All solar home system components except for the PV panels are manufactured locally. Project experience with these locally made components has been poor. The locally manufactured batteries, BCUs, and fluorescent lamps performed poorly. Most of the failures were due to improper use or poor quality components, i.e., problems of technology application rather than the technology itself. A 12-V lead-acid automotive battery is used in the system, which often leads to problems due to customer abuse. Due to poor quality of the locally made lights and junction boxes, they were later imported. On the positive side, locally available panel support frames, insulated cables and tumbler switches are reliable. As the solar systems are purchased in bulk, spare parts are always available. The SEP has a successful battery-recycling program.

23. The average price of a solar home system is approximately P 23,000 (US $900). The solar home system components are exempt from import duties and value added tax. The financing scheme of the SEP includes financing from the National Electrification Administration to the RECs who then finance solar home system sales to users. The SEP also established revolving funds for the RECs to finance additional solar home system installations. The ability and willingness of users to pay for PV electrification is a significant issue in the Philippines. At most 10 percent of the total households can pay cash for solar home systems and an additional 20 to 60 percent could procure them if suitable financing schemes were available (i.e., 20-30 percent down payment and an amortization period of at least three years for the balance of the amount). The remaining households could not afford a solar home system, but could acquire batteries to be recharged at battery-charging stations.