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WMSU Photovoltaics research to “light up”Simariki Island

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A Western Mindanao State University College of Engineering and Technology research on photovoltaics funded by the Commission on Higher Education under the grants for k-12 researches will light up and provide cheap water sources in a small island in Barangay Talon-Talon.

“Photovoltaic Power System is a medium for accessing or converting solar energy to electrical energy,” explains project leader Dr. Jessica Maria Paz Casimiro. According to her, the research aims to study the value chain on how to increase the value of photovoltaics or solar panels. The technology is common said Casimiro but there are accordingly so many uses of photovoltaics left undiscovered “and that is what we are trying to discover,” she added.

Along with Dr. Casimiro are five faculty members from the College of Engineering and Technology- Research Assistant Leaders Engr. Darry B.Junsay, PMEand Engr. Antonio Angelo J. Limbaga, Engr. Aylene R. Ingkoh, Engr. Oscar S. Sicat, and Engr. Janueber J. Garcia, PME and one from the College of Liberal Arts- Prof. NerlyneC. Concepcion. Since one of the requirements of the grant is to collaborate with another Higher Education Institution (HEI), two faculty members from the Universidad de Zamboanga-Engr. Mary Ann Beth L. Kong PECE and Engr. JonaCristineJuntillaare also part of the research group-. Therefore, the working research group, according to Casimiro, is a multi-disciplinary and dynamic since they came from the different fields of Engineering and one from the Social Science.

The study has three components: (1) Capability building of the researchers and the University, (2) the Research itself, and (3) extension. In building the capability of the researchers, according to Casimiro, they will undergo intensive trainings on the operating procedures of the equipment and data gathering, the University too will be the venue for the establishment of the monitoring laboratory. Discussing on the Research component, Casimiro stressed out that the study will focus only on investigating some features of the photovoltaic that can increase its value and usefulness to the society. Dubbed as “Universidad para la Comunidad”, WMSU, through this research will be providing solar powered equipment, like a solar-powered rice cooker, solar-powered freezer or refrigerator, in an environment that need these equipment in furthering their fishing business thus, slowly helping in alleviating poverty in Simariki Island.

Submitted in July 2015 to answer the call for proposal under the grants of CHED, the paper underwent thorough institutional reviews and revisions from 2015 to the approval in December 13, 2016 and each revision is an improvement and update of the previous one. “I feel so lucky having this project granted but it was not easy,” says Casimiro and According to Dr. Casimiro, College of Engineering Dean Dr. Roberto M. Sala, PME has been giving his full support to her and the WMSU-CET teamsince the early stages of the undertaking.

She disclosed that during her ongoing revisions with her research team, they review each and every line as they have to make sure that every statement in the proposal and in the Memorandum of Agreement (MOA) is achievable and realistic.

According to her, photovoltaic entails the study of a number of elements but with the help of trusted advisers and those who are experienced and are in the industry, they narrowed down to focusing on the production of electricity and water-the basic necessity of the island.

Through this project, Simariki Island will be provided with 9 Kilo Watt electricity and 12 cubic meter water desalination plant. The desalination plant will be installed in the island and will be run by solar power.

It is not only the residents of Simariki who will benefit from the 10 Million worth project; the WMSU engineering students will also be provided with hands-on experience in operating and monitoring photovoltaic sites. CET graduate students will further enrich learning in the field since there is a MOA that provides for the involvement of the members of the faculty who are undertaking Masteral and Doctorate studies.

Out of the 76 research proposals approved by the Commission under the k-12 grants and aids, 23 papers were from Mindanao and Dr. Casimiro’s proposal is the only one (1) from the Western Mindanao. The research project will run for two years and Dr. Casimiro is hoping that the indigenous people in Simariki will benefit way longer than the project duration.  (Ella Dee Cruz-PAO,WMSU)




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