PNOC eyes aquavoltaic systems for solar energy

STATE-RUN Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) is exploring the development of aquavoltaic systems in the Philippines, aiming to install solar panels atop fishponds.

“This is a very good convergence between agriculture production and energy,” PNOC President Oliver B. Butalid said in an interview last week.

PNOC hopes to carry out the project in expansive areas with the involvement of an investor.

“It is not going to disrupt the fish production, so we will be looking for contiguous fishpond areas in the hundreds of hectares.”

Ma. Rowena C. Raymundo, PNOC’s manager of business research and development department, said that the project is currently in the “drawing stage,” with plans to demonstrate it in fishponds located in Pampanga.

“The idea there is putting up solar panels above fishponds. It [would] cover about 40-60% of the area, so we don’t compromise the productivity of the fishponds,” she said.

Unlike floating solar technology, aquavoltaic system involves putting solar panels that are three meters above water by placing poles, she noted.

“[The proponent] is someone who has done this in Taiwan and China, and the results have been successful that is why they want to replicate, do it here in the Philippines.”

PNOC is also exploring the possibility of becoming a retail electricity supplier for government entities as part of its strategy to become a service provider to government agencies.

“We want to present this option to them because most of the government agencies who are large consumers of electricity… they are not very well-served by private players because there are peculiarities in the government, like everything we do has to go through a procurement,” Ms. Raymundo said. — Sheldeen Joy Talavera