NONECO GM Insists ‘Solar is Unstable’

The general manager of the Northern Negros Electric Cooperative (NONECO) insisted that solar power is “unstable.”

Lawyer Danny Pondevilla made the reaction after a leader of Negros-based environment group said it prefers solar power as a major source for energy for the island.

Pondevilla said that while he favors “clean and renewable energy,” there are many constraints to solar energy as a major source of power.

“The solar plants in Negros do not have any batteries,” he pointed out, “where do we get electricity during night time or when there is rain?”

He said that generators “will not invest in buying batteries for their solar panels because it is very expensive.”

They need to double their capital “so it is not practical for them business-wise,” Pondevilla said.

Pondevilla added the solar power is “intermittent.”

“It is unstable. In the early morning you get half a megawatt, at noon time you get near maximum power but as the heat from the sun lowers, solar power also goes down,” he said.

Negros needs “a stable supply,” he said, adding that the demand for power is from 6pm to 10pm everyday.

“Where will we get power during this period if we rely on solar?,” Pondevilla said.

Earlier, NONECO has called the attention of the Department of Energy (DOE) to look into its complaints on the failure of the National Grid Corporation of the Philippines (NGCP) to address power fluctuations in northern Negros.

In its letter to Energy Secretary Alfonso Cusi, Pondevilla said the fluctuations were caused by solar power generation interconnections to its 69-kiloVolt power line.

He suggested limiting the production output of solar plants as a temporary solution while long-term remedies are being worked out.

He said their consumers, especially in San Carlos City, where several solar power plants are installed, had complained about the damage and losses they suffered due to blackouts and power fluctuations.

For its part, the DOE admitted that line congestion is building up in Negros Occidental due to many solar power plants operating in the province.

The abrupt influx of solar power plants is causing the main line, transmission and interconnection lines to congest, it said.*