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Fishing community in Tawi-Tawi gets first floating solar farm

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Fishing community in Tawi-Tawi
gets first floating solar farm

By Lilybeth Ison

The fishing island of Sibutu in Tawi-tawi Province will be the first fishing community with a floating solar farm to power ice-making and cold storage equipment, and serve as a fish convergence area or “Payao.”

In a meeting on Monday, July 8, with executives of Aboitiz Power led by Tristan Aboitiz and Regional Directors of the Department of Agriculture and the Bureau of Fisheries and Aquatic Resources (BFAR) at the DA central office, Sibutu Island was unanimously chosen to be the site of the multi-function floating solar farm.

The floating solar farm, a new technology employed by solar power generation companies so as to minimize the use of valuable lands, is now being introduced in the Philippines by the Norwegian company SN Power in partnership with Aboitiz Power.

The partner companies have established the first prototype in Magat Dam, Isabela which is capable of generating 200MW.

DA Secretary Emmanuel Piñol learned about the new technology and proposed improving this to enhance the productivity of the fisheries sector.

Piñol said that while fishermen in remote and isolated islands of the country could catch a huge volume of fish, the absence of ice and cold storage discourages them from catching more than what their family could consume.

During the meeting, Aboitiz Power executives said the Floating Solar Farms could be improvised to generate enough power to run ice-making and cold storage facilities in far-flung and isolated fishing communities of the country; generate power which could be stored in batteries to provide light to the fishing communities; serve as a huge Fish Aggregating Device or “Payao” where small fish species would gather and attract big fish species like Tuna; and function as a fish cage in coves or near the coastlines for the production of high value fish.

It was agreed upon that the Floating Solar Farm prototype will be funded by the DA-BFAR with an estimated cost of P20-million and is expected to be completed in four months. (First published in PNA, July 9, 2019)

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