Last November 2012, SIBAT Renewable Energy (RE) Team - Electrical Engineer Ryan Sims and Community Organizer Myrna Herisano together with Jun Cortez and two of his staff, travelled to Paang Bundok to install the recently repaired Lorentz pump and motor set, supplied by Jun Cortez, a long standing supplier of RE components to SIBAT.
Installation of this pump had been delayed for some months due to confusion and disagreement between SIBAT RE team and the supplier, Jun Cortez. The misunderstanding was in the terms of equipment purchase:SIBAT had ordered a new pump from Jun Cortez to replace a pump of the same model that was broken, but Jun Cortes was only able to replace the motor and not the full motor/pump set. As the full price had been paid, SIBAT was concerned about the long-term effectiveness of the repaired pump, hence initially declined the offer and demanded for a new set of Lorentz pump. Once it became apparent that no alternative solution was available, a compromise was made where Jun Cortez offered a 2-year personal warranty (1 year longer than the standard 1-year warranty offered by Lorentz on new motors and pumps from the date of purchase).
The following were the targeted activities by the group for the project field work:
Upon arrival at site, there were some issues that needs to be addressed by the team. The first observation was the inappropriate location and installation angle of the solar array, as it was observed that a mango tree shades the site in the afternoon. Additionally, the inclination angle of the solar frame and therefore the panels is 0 degrees. Normal practice indicates that for solar installations at the latitude of the Philippines should be 15 degrees, to maximise the sunlight falling on the panels and to allow for any debris to fall or wash off.
Later, the pump was installed in the water collection tank and tested. The pump did not initially reach the distribution pipes and upon investigation it was found that a large leak was present in the transmission pipe riser. Boy, the local operator, fixed the repair using 2 pieces of straight couplings and after repair the pump was tested again. This time the pump did not function and re-testing was not possible. Again the next day, testing was tried and the pump did not work. SIBAT then left the site, proposing to return the following week with Jun Cortex to fix the intermittency problem of the pump.
Prior to leaving by the team, a community meeting was held to discuss the whole rehabilitation of the project summarising all the necessary tasks to be done.
The following week, Jun Cortez suggested that the solar array wiring was incorrect and it would improve the situation if the wiring were changed to have 3 parallel rows with 5 panels in series. This fixed the problem with the pump and it was suspected that previously the current from the solar panels to the Lorentz controller was too low. Upon restarting the pump, two more leaks were found on the transmission line: one small leak just beyond the first leak and another more significant one near the top of the transmission line near the solar panels. The fact that the water was reaching near the solar panels is a good sign, however, full testing was not possible because of the leaked water.
Next, the grid power source and switch box was installed and tested. The testing proved successful although it was observed that the transformer got very hot very quickly. The community confirmed this a few days later when they reported to SIBAT a “very high temperature” at the transformer. Jun Cortex has promised to review this in the coming week by returning to Paang Bundok.
While in Paang Bundok, the SIBAT team also surveyed the water distribution pipelines and noted a number of problems, all of which the community operator was aware of. A list of fittings required to rehabilitate the water distribution pipes to a useable condition was made and passed on to the community with an estimated budget. The community plans to request funds for this from the municipal government unit and possibly other sources of funding such as Global Giving.
In addition to these basic repairs, SIBAT suggested constructing concrete tap-stands, similar to the Pulili project. A budget for this was also handed over to the community for fund sourcing. SIBAT will also look into helping the community raise funds for these necessary components to make their solar water pumping system efficient and reliable 24 hours daily.
As of today, the remaining tasks and status updates are summarised below.
The Paang Bundok solar water pumping project is now in its final stage of completion, as the wind component has now been shelved for future development.
The final component is the installation of the water pump which will then complete the project. As of now, there are issues with the supplier for the procurement of a new Lorentz pump, and we fervently hope that this will be addressed soon enough.
The other major components - solar panel and inverter were already installed previously and is now awaiting for the water pump installation for the system to be up and running and providing drinking and household water supply to the villagers.
Again our warmest thanks to all those who supported the project and we hope that you can also support other community-based renewable energy projects that SIBAT will be pursuing in other off-grid rural poor areas.
Below is the link to SIBAT's renewable energy program developing other community-based renewable energy projects such as micro-hydro, solar, wind-solar hybrid water pumping projects:
Project rehabilitation is almost completed for the solar water pumping system, the repaired solar panels were relocated near the community including installation of transmission line from the source to the new location which is 500 meters away. A new inverter and the repaired solar panels were installed near the community so as to secure the system and avoid damage by untoward incidents including lightning.
The next component to be installed will be a new pump --- the old pump was not repairable as found out by the project team. For now, the team is in the process of procuring a new pump which will provide the most efficient water pumping system and for the Paang Bundok villagers to enjoy drinking and water supply year round. After pump installation, the next activities will be for assessing /testing and conduct of necessary repairs of the water distribution line from the water supply to the households.
The next site visit will entail testing of the new pump, and once functional, the team will now proceed to testing and repair of the water distribution lines from the water source to the households. A parallel pipe distribution will be set upon installation of the grip-pump.
The Paang Bundok villagers are really looking forward to the completion of the solar water pumping system!
The solar water pumping project in Paang Bundok was installed in 2005 providing water supply to 85 families in Paang Bundok. Unfortunately, during the three-year operation of the potable water system, some of its main technical parts (electrical inverter) were accidentally hit twice by lightning that affected the over-all performance. Most of the solar panels were badly damaged and some inverters were missing. Although some parts replacement was done with the help of a partner institution, the maximum capacity of the water system to supply the requirement of the whole community was greatly affected. After this episode, the decision to move the solar panels system closer to the community was taken and also install transition line from the source to the new system location, around 500 meters far, buy a new inverter and repair the solar panels in order to rehabilitate the system.
At present, the whole potable water system is at zero performance level due to the missing inverters and damaged solar panels. From September 2008 up to this time, the residents are doing the old ways of fetching water for their daily needs.
Thanks to you and Global Giving that facilitated online fundraising, SIBAT engineers are now working on the rehabilitation of the solar water pumping system.
Presently, the solar panels have already been repaired and placed in the new location closer to the community. The inverter has been delivered to the community and already in place. The transmission line from the water source to the location of the new solar panels have been installed. The project team is composed of Carlo Fabia (electrical engineer), Diana Benato (mechanical engineer), Jade Angngalao (agricultural engineer and Myrna Herisano (community facilitator).
During the site visit to rehabilitate the the system, SIBAT Team has discovered that the pump is not functional any more probably due to the fact that it has been left inoperative for a long period. The team has decided to bring the pump to the SIBAT workshop in Urdaneta, Pangasinan so as to clean and make it work again before take the decision to buy a new pump. Installation of the pump is targeted to be completed within the month of December 2011.
The project engineers, Carlo Fabia and Diana Benato, will then test the repaired pump and plan out next activities for making the water pumping system fully operational. As such, after testing, if the pump is working, the next activities will be for the assessing/testing and conduct of necessary repairs of the water distribution line from the water supply to the households. If in the case that the repaired pump will not work, then SIBAT will then have to procure a new pump for the system.
8-9 October 2011: Installation of the inverter. The team went to Paang Bundok to clean-up and do maintenance work of the solar system, install the new inverter and the transmission line from the water source to the solar panels located 500m from Paliparan Spring which is the water source. Unfortunately, the engineers were unable to test the pump as it was rainy weather and there was not enough power to run the pump.
26-27 October 2011: Test of the pump. The team returned to the site to test the pump on a sunny weekend, and discovered that the pump was not functional due to impurity inside the rotor as the pump has been left without working for a long period. As such, the engineers brought the pump for clean-up and repair work to SIBAT’s workshop in Urdaneta.
11-17 November 2011: Pump Repair in Machine Shop in Urdaneta, Pangasinan. The pump was cleaned as it has already some parts with rust, pump oil was replaced and now ready for testing.
Next site visit on December 2011: Pump Testing. The next site visit will entail testing of the repaired pump, and once functional, the team will now proceed to testing and repair of the water distribution lines from the water source to the households. If the repaired pump is not working, then there will be a need to procure a new pump for the system.
Thank you for supporting the rehabilitation of the solar water pumping project in Paang Bundok. SIBAT engineers were able to repair the damaged solar panels and have now installed it in Paang Bundok. The technical work is now halfway through, made possible with your support that provided for the technical repairs and installation expenses of the project. As soon as possible, the water pump will also then be repaired that will then bring up the water directly from the spring to the storage tank for distribution to the 85 families in the village.
The next phase will be restoration of the water distribution system including the water pump equipment. SIBAT engineers – Carlo Fabia and Diana Benato have already designed the appropriate water system layout that will optimize the water distribution system.
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