For the University of Asia and the Pacific, this year’s June 5 held twice its “green” significance. Not only was it the World Environment Day. It was also when UA&P switched on its 300kW solar power system, becoming the first school in the country to utilize solar energy in such capacity.
“I congratulate the University of Asia and the Pacific for taking the initiative to go green and switch to solar,” Department of Energy (DOE) Undersecretary Zenaida Monsada said during the switch-on ceremony held at the Parking and Sports Building (PSB) of UA&P. “You took the initiative in properly managing and maximizing the power source that can supply your own demands…Thank you for cooperating with the DOE in our efforts.”
The installation of the University’s solar power systems runs parallel to the solar rooftop program for private schools conceptualized by the DOE to lower power costs and address the schools’ energy needs. UA&P’s switch to a photovoltaic power system was proposed by an alumnus of the Strategic Business Economics Program of the University, Ericson Maquinto. A mutually beneficial financial agreement between the University and Maquinto’s company, TBS Industrial Services Inc., led to the installation of 1200 pieces of high-efficiency 250W black monocrystalline solar panels at the rooftop of PSB at no cost. Its hybrid inverters control and continuously charge a battery bank that could be switched on in the event of either the Manila Electric Company (Meralco) or the solar power system shutting down.
Engr. Vizminda Osorio, Regional Director for NCR of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources’ Environmental Management Bureau, acknowledged the University’s effort to promote the use of solar energy and encouraged the audience to learn from UA&P’s move to solar power. “Your continued support to promote the use of solar energy takes us a step further toward reducing our gasoline and fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions,” she told UA&P. “I urge everyone to take advantage of the insights and innovations to be presented in this event today, and in the exchange of ideas and experiences, you are all enhancing our prospects to beat the pollution challenge and to make this part of the globe a cleaner, healthier, and greener habitat for all,” she added.
On top of the PSB’s other innovations—its state-of-the-art fire protection system, water re-use, and energy-efficient LED lighting system—the solar power system makes UA&P a model for the educational industry in its contribution to reducing carbon dioxide emission. UA&P is the first academic institution and the second building in the Ortigas Center to use solar power.
“This will surely set a standard for other schools in the country…I congratulate you for being a pioneer in an undertaking that has become a more viable and attractive option due to its many benefits,” Pasig City Mayor Maribel Eusebio said. “I’m certain that this [tapping of alternative source of energy] involved plenty of research, considerable enhancement of facilities, and hard work on the part of the administration which makes this an even greater achievement. While this contribution of UA&P does not place our country in the same category as the top countries that are successfully utilizing solar energy like Germany, Spain, Italy, Japan, and the U.S., your success shows the city government of Pasig and the rest of the country that it is doable.”
Pasig City launched in 2006 its Green City vision and has been consistent in pushing initiatives to instill environmental consciousness to its citizens. UA&P President Dr. Jose Maria Mariano sees UA&P’s switch to solar power as a step toward this vision. “We hope that our Parking and Sports Building will soon be among many other buildings in Ortigas Center that significantly lessen the community’s carbon footprint, thus putting the ‘Green’ firmly in Pasig Green City,” he exclaimed. “We, in UA&P, believe that social collaboration for ensuring a sustainable environment is an important factor in whole-person development.”
Also present in the ceremony were Chairman of the Board of UA&PFI Dr. Placido Mapa, who gave a brief speech; representatives of the Ortigas Center Association, Inc. as well as of Brgy. San Antonio, MERALCO, BDO Leasing Inc., Ateneo de Manila University, St. Paul College Pasig, TV5 Mediaquest; private business owners; members of the media; and employees of TBS.