ASA Solarite Goes International

Affordable Energy Solutions of Huntsville is going to work in the Philippines. Normally limited to Alabama and Southern Tennessee, the firm is branching out. A team from the firm will be developing and teaching a two-day class on “Energy Efficiency Planning for Optimization” in Manila this spring. While there, we will install at least one grid-tied photovoltaic system with battery backup.

Nothing shows the energy situation in the Philippines better than the lighthouse on the fortress island of Corregidor. The original 19th Century Spanish lighthouse used whale oil lamps to guide ships from the South China Sea into Manila Bay. Electric lights replaced the oil lamps and eventually the lighthouse evolved into the tower shown to the right. Brimming with electronics and powered by solar panels, the tower still guides ships safely into and out of Manila Bay.


Life is hard in the Philippines. Gasoline costs about five bucks a gallon. It takes the average Filipino worker two and a half, 10 to 12 hours days to buy one gallon. Electricity is 25 cents per kilowatt-hour, or about double what Alabama Power charges now. That’s more than an hour’s wages for just one kWh. “Brown-outs” are common. A “brown-out is defined as grid power being shut off for less than 12 hours; longer than 12 hours is a blackout.

At just ten degrees north latitude, there’s a lot of sunshine in the Philippines. “As we enter 2013, we would like to focus on the solar rooftops because we believe this is going to be a major initiative by the [solar] industry in providing solutions to our problems in the energy sector,” said Theresa Cruz-Capellan, one of the founders of the Philippine Solar Power Alliance (PSPA).

Alabama Solar Association (American Solar Energy Society chapter) president and Solarite Morton Archibald will travel to Manila in April to help Filipinos achieve their goal of more rooftop solar.  The two-day class will include the current energy crisis, energy effi­ciency – the best source of new energy, building energy e­fficiency, transportation energy effi­ciency, utility energy effi­ciency, recycling-the third best option, solar – the source of all energy, energy economics, solar hot water, photovoltaics, maintenance and repair, and ways you can implement the lessons learned for today’s energy challenges.

1.11asa-2Morton will then proceed to the provincial capital of Tarlac City on Central Luzon about 110 kilometers (70 miles) north of Manila. The economy of Tarlac Provence is primarily agricultural with principal crops of rice, sugarcane, and other fruits and vegetables. Tarlac City supports the surrounding farmers of the province with mills and machinery. My daughter and her husband own a business that manufactures and modifies motor scooters – the primary means of personal transportation there.

“Brown-outs” are very common in Tarlac City. When a brown-out occurs, businesses have to shut down and air conditioning stops. It’s no fun to stay inside in a tropical climate without AC. In other words, all work stops until the power comes back on.

Morton will organize a crew of local workers and train them to install a grid-tied photovoltaic system with battery backup in Tarlac. This will show local businesses how they can keep critical systems operational while the power is out.

Working conditions? We’ll have a view of a volcano across a green pasture as we work. That’s it to the right.

Learn more about the class at learn more about photovoltaic systems at

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