Operator Boy installs the newly repaired pump
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:
- Install new pump and motor;
- Re-wiring solar array to new voltage and current;
- Survey water transmission and distribution lines;
- Installation of grid power source;
- Grounding of all appropriate components;
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.
- Observed that solar location was inappropriate; requested removal of Mango tree – permission by owner received after discussion with Myrna, SIBAT's community organizer.
- Solar panels are flat and not tilted at 15 degrees as is normally recommended. Work required to change the angle is seen as disproportionate to benefit however the community will have to clean panels more regularly.
- Observed many leaks and problems with water transmission and distribution pipelines. Community will contact local government for funding after SIBAT provided a list of repair materials. Boy, the operator, is capable of repairing the lines and will request help from SIBAT if necessary.
- Observed that there is no pump dry-run protection. A sensor must be connected to the controller from the water collection tank via a two-pair wire. This has also been budgeted and details passed on to the community, SIBAT will also help, for fund raising. This task should take priority as the sustainability of the pump is of highest important.
- The cost required for concrete tap-stand construction has been shared with the community. Detailed design drawings are required to be produced and given to the operator. If the community are to proceed with the construction of tap-stands, SIBAT will provide training and oversee the construction of the first few to build capability within the PO.
- The current solar array configuration in 5 series panels with three parallel. The 16th panel, not used, was tested and observed broken. Initial thinking is that the junction box connections could be loose because of the previous vandalism that occurred. A full diagnosis and possible repair should be investigated.
- The pump is currently grounded using the GI pipe water transmission post. A grounding rod was brought to site by Jun Cortez: this needs to be installed at the pump location and connected to the pump ground.
- Review Jun Cortez’s work to repair or replace the grid connection transformer-overheating problem.
The newly repaired Lorentz pump being installed
SIBAT staff and operators working together
Paang Bundok resident Boy repairing a leak
Repairing a leak in the water distribution line