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Valenzuela solar power farm is former fish pond

The more than 32,000 solar panels at the Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc.'s solar power farm convert sunlight to electricity and generate a total of 8.6 megawatts.

Photo by: Rodrigo De Guzman
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What used to be a fish pond in Valenzuela City is now a solar power farm set to supply electricity to a leading distribution company.

Inaugurated on Sunday, November 29, the solar power farm owned by the Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc. is using over 32,000 solar panels sprawled across 11 hectares of property in Barangay Isla.

Joeven Go, Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc. assistant manager, said the solar panels can generate a total 8.6 megawatts of electricity, an amount that could power as much as 61,920 households. On December 14, the farm will start supplying a distribution company with this electricity. The solar farm is the largest of its kind in any city in the Philippines today.

The solar power panels at the farm convert sunlight into electricity. Unlike fossil fuels, the most common source of electricity in the world today, solar energy is renewable, which means it does not run out, the sun being an eternal source. The process of converting sunlight to energy is also devoid of carbon, the number-one air pollutant today.

Officials of the city government and Barangay Isla welcome the enterprise, saying it is a significant step towards Valenzuela living up to its  liveable city status.

Joel Angeles, barangay chair, said the Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc. will provide employment among Isla residents, aside from donating solar panels to Isla Elementary School, helping the school bring down its electricity expenses.

Valenzuela City, whose economy is largely driven by factories, has recently begun changing its “factory town” image into that of a “liveable city,” or one that encourages safe and healthy living among its residents.

In February this year, the city government opened the Valenzuela City People’s Park, which, at 1.3 hectares, is the biggest park in Northern Metro Manila today.

A disaster response complex is also being constructed in a property across the city hall in Barangay Malinta. Its design won the National Competitiveness Council and Microsoft’s Liveable Cities Design Challenge in 2014.

DEUS ET MACHINA. The Rev. Filemon Capiral of the San Diego de Alcala Parish Church blesses the Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc. solar farm control room during the inauguration, November 29, 2015. Photo by Rodrigo de Guzman.

Solar legacy

Though this is the first time that a solar power farm of such magnitude has been opened in the city, Valenzuela has had caught attention for solar power initiatives in the grassroots.

In 2010, Sitero Francisco Memorial National High School in Barangay Ugong became the first solar-powered school in the country with the installation of six solar panels. The panels, which were donated by the US-based non-government organization Winrock International, could produce up to 5 kilowatts of electricity and light nine classrooms.

The following year, a library at another school, Lawang Bato National High School, was installed with five panels provided by the Foundation for Environmental Education,

In 2014, Malinta National High School had its own solar energy project, though in a much smaller scale: a tournament of solar-powered miniature Formula 1 cars.

POSE FOR A SUSTAINABLE POSTERITY. Officials of the city government and Valenzuela Solar Energy, Inc. pose for a photo opportunity during the farm's inauguration. The city government welcomes the opening of the solar farm, saying it is a significant step towards Valenzuela becoming a more liveable city. Photo by Rodrigo de Guzman.

2015-12-02 | By: Rafael Carpio Cañete

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