Installation of solar panels in General Nakar, Quezon province: a project of Dr. Tess Perez and the Ateneo Innovation Center

by Quirino Sugon Jr.

Dr. Tess Perez (second from the left) with men from Barangay Anoling, General Nakar, Quezon City.

Dr. Tess Perez (second from the left) with men from Barangay Anoling, General Nakar, Quezon City. Above them is their first solar-powered light bulb

Last first week of August, Dr. Tess Perez of the Department of Environmental Science and Mr. Paul Cabacungan of the Ateneo Innovation Center conducted a training on solar panel installation at Barangay Anoling, General Nakar, Quezon Province.  The lighting was set up in a small farm. To make the project sustainable, the men in the community were trained to set up the solar panel, use the current generated during the day to charge a car battery, and use the car battery to light up the bulbs at night.  The men were also  trained to trouble shoot.

The municipality of General Nakar is a hilly place, perfect for refuge of guerrilla fighters under the command of General Guillermo Nakar in World War II before the Fall of Bataan and Corregidor in May 1942 until the fateful day of Nov 1942 when Gen. Nakar was betrayed, captured, and executed for refusing to submit to Japan even in exchange for his freedom. Today, the hills remain treacherous. Farmers who plant upland rice, lanzones, dalandan, and rambutan have no access to farm-to-market roads; it was only in October 2010 that the agricultural tramline system was being proposed in Sitio Cablao, Barangay Pagsangahan in General Nakar.  The transportation costs are prohibitive, the market price for agricultural goods are cheap, and the fruits end up rotten.

Quezon province houses two coal-fired power plants which supplies power to the Luzon grid: the 735 MW Team Energy Pagbilao Power Plant in the municipality of Pagbilao and the 440 MW Quezon Power Limited in the municipality of Mauban.  Electicity is provided by the Manila Electric Company to Lucena and  and 10 municipalities, the cooperative QUEZELCO I to 23 municipalities, and the cooperative QUEZELCO II to 10 municipalities–one of them is General Nakar.

According to Dr. Tess Perez, in Barangay Anoling of General Nakar, there is an intermittent current supply and frequent brownout. She observed that getting a line from QUEZELCO  is expensive.   But she said that investing in a small solar lighting is equivalent to all the expenses for getting an electrical line.  A small solar lighting set up can be set up to support simple electric needs of the 3-4 houses in this part of the municipality. The system must, however, be well maintained and the solar panels must be protected from being broken or stolen. During typhoon season, falling trees may destroy the solar panel.

The local government was not yet involved in the project, but Dr. Perez said that the project will eventually be explained to the Barangay Captain. The solar lighting project at Barangay Anoling will be a model for the community to solve their constant power problem through an alternative and clean energy source such as solar power.

A man with a solar panel

A man with a solar panel

Paul Cabacungan of Ateneo Innovation Center with a car battery.

Paul Cabacungan with a car battery.

The light bulbs

The light bulbs

A hut beside the dirt road on a hill

A hut beside the dirt road on a hill


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5 Responses to Installation of solar panels in General Nakar, Quezon province: a project of Dr. Tess Perez and the Ateneo Innovation Center

  1. rolf breitfeld says:

    hi and regards from germany.
    by searching for a website of quezelco i found your site and it seems me that you have the competence to answer me a question.
    my wife (pinay) and i are planning to settle down in the philippines, near gumaca/quezon province. as a former mechanic i own lots of small electrical machines which i want to send to the philippines by balik bayan box. problem is, they are all running on 230v 50hz. they will not last long in the philippines with 220v 60hz. i am not worried about my drilling machine if i drill 3 holes into the wall but my disc-saw and my compressor might run all day long.
    is there any converter available in the philippines and if, how much would it cost me? (need it for max 3000watt). i tried it here in germany already but there seems to be no market here for this. could such a converter be constructed by an electrican in the province?
    hoping for an answer…..thanks.

    • Hi Rolf,

      I shall ask friends on your need for a 230 V, 50 Hz to 220 V 60 Hz converter.

      • Hi Rolf,

        I asked some friends and here are some notes/suggestions:

        1. Try a UPS.
        2. In Manila, frequency fluctuates from 50 Hz to 60 Hz, though in paper the frequency is set at 60Hz.
        3. Voltage variation at 10% is okay, Ten percent of 230 V is 23 V, so the allowable voltage ranges are 207 to 253 V.

        I Googled “50 Hz to 60 Hz” converter, and the first results page recommends one brand:

        TEMCo (based in US)

        Some excerpts:

        “50Hz to 60Hz Frequency Converter Common Applications
        Frequency Converters which convert 50Hz electricity to 60Hz electricity have several common power applications. The two most common applications are to power 60Hz equipment (or even a whole factory) on an ongoing basis in a 50Hz environment, and secondly for factories which produce 60Hz equipment for export to the USA from a country where the standard power is 50Hz Frequency. In many European and South American countries the standard power is mostly available in 50Hz but in the USA (and many other countries) the standard power is 60Hz, so if a factory or other type of company or individual wishes to power 60Hz equipment in those environments they will need to convert the frequency of the power. This is where a TEMCo 50Hz to 60Hz Frequency Converter meets and satisfies this need.

        In addition to just converting the frequency from 50Hz to 60Hz TEMCO Frequency Converters can provide many other abilities to control the power that is output guaranteeing the quality power that your equipment needs.”

        The webpage has an info on how to order.

        There is also a forum on these converters:

        A quote: “Usually the problem with power supplies is going from 60Hz to 50 Hz, because of the transformer not being able to handle the lower frequency. You shouldn’t really have a problem going from 50 to 60Hz, since it is easier on the transformer and other circuit parts like capacitors.”

        I would suggest purchasing TEMCo frequency converter either from Germany or Philippines.

        I hope this helps.


  2. rolf breitfeld says:

    thanks for your reply. sorry, my english is limited.
    i will repeat what i understood: electrical supply in the philippines is 60hz on the paper only
    and oftenly only 50hz, it varies all the time. same with the voltage.

    most worried about i am with the compressor. it is a direct drive so that i can not change anything at the transmission. it will run a 20% faster and will comprimy 20% more air.
    not good for bearings and valves. no spare-parts for this (foreign) type in the philippines.
    i have an air-hammer and want the people to use it instead of a barretto when i dig a well.
    soil is really dammed hard there.
    if i had to buy my electrical tools in the philippines they would cost me 60000p upwards.
    i have my used ones and the transport would cost me 12000p.

    the links you sent me for a converter lead to industrial use. i want to run little machines only.
    my question again, is an electrical shop in the province able to construct me a converter?

    • Hi Rolf,

      Most electricians in the Philippines can repair airconditioners, washing machines, flat irons. There are also many repair shops for electronic equipments like cellular phones, radio, TV. Designing a converter requires engineering skills. But if you already have the design, there are possibly repair shops in the province who may be able to fabricate the converter. Filipinos craftsmen do not mold; they cut, weld, and wire.

      I’ll ask my electrician friend next week if he can make your converter or knows someone who can make it.

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