About ALPHAsolar1

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So far ALPHAsolar1 has created 6 blog entries.

Why microrenewables?

by Roberto Verzola By microrenewables, we mean small-scale renewables, whose outputs are at kilowatt instead of megawatt levels. These include solar PV systems on home and building rooftops, microhydro facilities, small wind turbines, small biogas digesters, and other micro-systems. As a rough guide, we can use the government limit of 100 kilowatts and below. The term derives from “microcomputers”, “microprocessors”, and “microcontrollers”. These represent the “micro” paradigm in the information industries, which overthrew the older “mainframe” paradigm that used to dominate the computer industry. The mainframe paradigm involved going after economies of scale in size by [...]

Why LED lighting makes sense

by Roberto Verzola Shifting to energy-efficient LED lighting is a good example of an energy efficiency measure and makes eminent sense, as the following calculations will show. Consider installing a 15-watt LED lamp for 250 pesos, to replace a 40-watt fluorescent lamp. The more efficient LED lamp provides the same amount of illumination. Now, every time you switch the lamp on, you are saving 25 watts of electricity. Another way of looking at it is that you are recovering 25 watts that would otherwise have been wasted. In effect, you have installed a 25-watt micro-generator that [...]

The CREST microhydro agenda

by Roberto Verzola The Center for Renewable Energy and Sustainable Technology (CREST) is hard at work on its microhydro agenda. It is partnering with Galing Pook awardee, the LGU of San Luis, Aurora, and other local governments on trials to bring down the capital expenses for microhydro installations below the capex of mini- and mega-hydroelectric projects. This agenda involves several parallel efforts, patterned after how the microcomputer industry attained economies of scale: Use off-the-shelf industrial products instead of madeto-order components. For instance, we have been experimenting with the use of induction motors as generators (see mR#1). [...]

Micro vs mainframe

by Roberto Verzola The micro/mainframe terminology is derived from the early debate in the computing industry between IBM Corp. and Intel Corp. IBM was the pioneer and leader in the computer industry of the 1960s, and faced only a few small competitors. The industry players were often described as “Snow White and the seven dwarfs”. IBM’s core product was the mainframe computer, a large computer system that occupied a whole room or a big hall. The system generated so much heat that the room had to be cooled with powerful air-conditioners. The wirings for the different [...]

It is expensive to have no electricity

by Roberto Verzola Those who do not have access to electricity use candles or kerosene lamps at night. We will compare the cost of these lighting technologies to the cost of electric lighting. Assume that a candle as well as a kerosene lamp provide as much illumination as a 3-watt lamp. One candle might cost five pesos and will last for an hour, i.e., 3 watts in one hour (0.003 kWh) for five pesos. The levelized cost (LCOE) of a candle light is therefore five pesos divided by 0.003 kWh, or P1,667/kWh. That’s very expensive. A [...]

Exempt small-scale renewables from the bureaucratic mazes of electric utilities, city halls and the Energy Regulatory Commission

by Roberto Verzola Today, basically the same set of rules apply to small-scale renewable projects below 100 kW as well as to 100 MW projects. This is a huge disincentive for small-scale RE. The experience of the Romblon Electric Cooperative (Romelco) is a case in point. Their 20-kW hybrid facility in Cobrador Island, which involves a mixture of solar power, battery storage and diesel generator back-up, also had to go through essentially the same bureaucratic maze at the Department of Energy and the Energy Regulatory Commission as 100 MW solar farm projects. To make the point even [...]