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DA taps Aboitiz unit to build floating solar farms prototype
by Rommel Hallares - Friday, 12 July 2019, 08:41 AM
Manila Bulletin - July 9,2019, 10:00 pm

The Department of Agriculture (DA) has tapped SN Aboitiz Power (SNAP), a subsidiary of Aboitiz group’s power arm, to develop a prototype for a floating solar farm technology in order to provide power to isolated fishing communities, especially those in the islands.

In separate statements, Agriculture Secretary Emmanuel Piñol and SNAP officials, led by SNAP-Magat Assistant Vice President and Plant Manager Willy Ferrer, have recently agreed to build a multi-function floating solar farm.

A floating solar farm is a new technology employed by solar power generation companies to minimize the use of valuable lands. It’s basically a normal solar panel, but installed on top of a structure that floats on water.

As part of the deal, the DA and SNAP have chosen the Municipality of Sibutu in Tawi-Tawi — which is located at the farthest south of the country — as the location of the pilot floating solar technology project, which will be funded by the DA for P20 million.

Piñol instructed Agriculture Undersecretary for Fisheries and Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) National Director Eduardo Gongona to form a technical team that will coordinate with the SNAP Group and schedule an urgent site inspection.

The prototype is expected to be completed in four months and when proven to be effective, it will be presented to President Rodrigo Duterte as an example of DA’s adoption of modern technology to increase fish production.

For their part, SNAP executives assured Piñol that the floating solar farms could be used to generate enough power to run ice-making and cold storage facilities in far-flung and isolated fishing communities of the country.

They also assured him that the technology could generate power which could be stored in batteries to provide light to the fishing communities as well as serve as a huge fish aggregating device or ‘Payao’ which attract fish species.

It was Piñol who sought a meeting with SNAP the other week when he found out about the floating solar farm that the latter has built in the Magat Dam in Isabela in partnership with the National Irrigation Administration (NIA).

Last month, SNAP switched on the said facility, a 200-kilowatt pilot floating solar power in Isabela, which is the firm’s first non-hydro renewable energy (RE) project.

The development of more floating solar farms in the country was then discussed during the recent Management Committee Meeting of the DA held in General Santos City.

Piñol said the floating solar farms, that could serve as ‘payao, would be very useful in island provinces like Siquijor, Basilan, Sulu, Tawi-tawi and other isolated fishing islands.

Two years ago, the DA also tapped a new technology — the Solar Powered Irrigation System — to increase the volume of irrigated lands in the country, which will result to bigger farm output.

This was also endorsed to Duterte and is now one of the banner programs of the DA.

Picture of Emelie Nunez
Re: DA taps Aboitiz unit to build floating solar farms prototype
by Emelie Nunez - Sunday, 29 March 2020, 11:06 AM
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