CEBU, Philippines – The first 60 kilowatts of solar power is now generating energy for Silliman University, particularly at the Luce Auditorium building, after the switch-on ceremony Tuesday morning.

The power switch-on rites were attended by SU president Dr. Ben Malayang III, Board of Trustees member Grace Sumalpong, former SU president Dr. Angel Alcala, and Raynor Jamandre, president of First Solar Orion Energy Solutions who provided for free the solar materials to the university.

Next to be installed is the 90-kilowatt solar power at the rooftop of the Silliman Library, and to 13 other buildings of the university before the year ends. In a year’s time, the whole system will generate about 1.68 million kilowatt hours for the SU.

Looking past the numbers, Jamandre said it was but significant to look at the contribution of the university in the preservation of the environment. He said the project will be saving 500,000 kilograms of coal per year.  Such emission will need about 30,000 trees to sequester the carbon dioxide from the air.

Jamandre said his company is looking forward to completing the project within the year and giving a very good example that renewable energy is the way to go.

He clarified that solar is not about heat, “but it’s all about light so when its cloudy or even when it’s raining the production will go down but there will still be energy, much more when it’s a sunny day.”

Malayang said it has partnered with Solar Orion to send a message that SU will continue to deploy whatever it can do to show the way on how the university could take care of the environment and eventually the people because of their commitment.

He also pointed out it is the role of universities in any society is to provide for new ideas and pioneer new ways of doing things even if the technology itself is not very new, but application of the same is something new.

We look at this project as a modest way of walking the talk for SU, said Malayang. “It will still need electricity from the grid through the electric cooperative for its base-load requirement.”

Any cost saving measure in private universities is always a matter of reducing pressure for tuition and other fees among students while at the same time improving the ability to provide benefits for its faculty and staff, Malayang added. (FREEMAN)