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Sun after the storm



Solarizing By Jeffrey Voacolo

While the solar energy industry continues to grow on Guam, one of our biggest threats is extreme weather. With typhoon Mawar’s winds reaching 154 mph, let’s look at how the industry fared during this storm.


According to the statistics, 80 percent of our residential systems did extremely well. Most of the systems in this category were missing a few modules, while most had little to zero damage. That is a win for the industry.


Our commercial portfolios were the hardest hit, being in the 20 percent category. After assessments were completed on these systems, we found that most of the damage was caused by flying debris and loose equipment on rooftops that were not part of the systems.


Our storage systems were not damaged, but about 20 percent needed some form of service due to the zeroing-out state of discharge on these components by the homeowners.


We came to the conclusion that solar energy systems with battery storage are by far your best energy source in these difficult situations during and after a storm.


While the solar energy industry can offer energy cheaper than the fuel-based grid, backing up the system with storage is highly recommended in the years ahead.


The industry is expected to produce energy at less than 3 cents per watt within the next five years, while utility rates continue to increase at an alarming rate.


Battery technology continues to improve and decrease in pricing, while every fossil fuel-generating component continues to increase in price. Fossil fuel generators have not come down in pricing at all over the last five years and now more and more solid-state components in appliances, media equipment, medical equipment and almost everything in your household that was installed over the last five years require pure clean power.


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Solar energy and battery inverters offer this pure sine wave technology so the energy is at a perfect 240/120 volts at 60 certs, basically cleaner than the utility can offer.


Besides, who wants to deal with the fuel to generate power when the fuel comes to us every morning and sets every night for free?


Typhoon Mawar underscored the need for us to secure a reliable, independent, sustainable energy source that is non-reliant on utility. Even a new power plant will not secure power to your household; you still need the transmission and distribution lines to deliver this energy to your homes and businesses.


I have heard a lot of people say, “Wow, we are finally getting back to normal.” Well, if normal means patching up the grid to last until the next typhoon, then it’s not something to be excited about. We need to reconfigure normalcy. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result—even 21 years later—we all know what that is called.


Jeffrey Voacolo is the vice president and chief operations officer of Generation Renewable Inc. Send feedback to jvoacolo@micronesiarenewableenergy.com



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