SBMA eyes up to 39% savings with solar power systems

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SUBIC BAY FREEPORT — With the increasing cost of electricity needed to sustain office operations and deliver public services, the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) is now shifting to renewable energy to save on power cost and help promote sustainable development.

SBMA Chairman and Administrator Wilma T. Eisma said that Building 229 and Building 255, which are two main office buildings of the agency, are now being equipped with Grid-Tied Solar Power System that would generate savings from electric consumption of from 12 to 39 percent.

“SBMA is going green—which is not only good for the environment, but is even economically inevitable because that’s the way things are shaping up. You either shift to renewables, or become inefficient and less competitive,” Eisma said on Monday.

“After installing the solar systems at 229 and 255, we will schedule six other SBMA facilities, including the Remy Field sports complex, for similar solar system upgrades,” Eisma said.

The Subic agency proceeded with this green innovation after a pilot project at the SBMA Regulatory Building ran successfully two years ago. The new project at Buildings 229 and 255 will produce about 90 kilowatts-peak (kWp), which is the rate at which a photovoltaic or solar power system can generate energy at peak performance.

Eisma said the project contractor, Kennedy Energy and Development Corp., has just finished tapping the array of photovoltaic source on top of the two buildings to existing main distribution panels. 

“With these solar power sources, we expect not only to save on electricity billings, but also to sell some of the excess power that we can export back to the grid,” she stressed.

“Our computations place savings in the vicinity of P807,476 each year for Building 255, with close to 39 percent reduction of electric consumption, while savings for Building 229 would be around P415,970 per year at close to 12 percent reduction of electricity use,” Eisma added.

According to Engr. Tony Rafanan of the SBMA Telecommunications Department, which is in charge of the project, the installation of solar power systems would cost an average of P6 million per building, and in the case of Remy Field may reach P19 million.

However, each building installed with the solar power system will be able to generate savings ranging from P60,000 to P120,000 a month, depending on the generated power of the system, he said. “The higher the generated power would be, the bigger the savings,” he added.

Rafanan explained that the Grid-Tied Solar Power System drastically reduces electricity bill, and during weekends will sell excess energy back to the grid via net metering. 

Meanwhile, the system will automatically prioritize the use of the solar system as power source, and thus the use of the grid will be at minimum level, he added.

Rafanan said that with total project cost at P6,854,000, which is the bidder’s price for the two buildings, and with the cost of energy demand at P465,286 per month, each solar-powered building can deliver annual savings of P1.22 million.

“At this rate, we can already expect a return of investment or ROI in just 5.6 years, which is very favorable considering that the solar panels have a life expectancy of 25 years,” he pointed out.

Records of the 10-kW grid-tied solar power system at the SBMA Regulatory Building indicated that it has generated energy of 5,140 kilowatt-hours (kWh) from August to December 2018, yielded 13,381 kWh

In 2019 and 13,940 kWh in 2020. 

On the other hand, savings generated by the 10-kW system reached P44,615 in five months in 2018; P116,147 in 2019; and P130,871 last year.