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Doctor of Engineering

posted Nov 5, 2012, 10:33 PM by William Hong
(2012 - September 25)

Blogger: William
Journey: Japan - TokyoTech. 

After 5 years in the making, we finally did it. On that fateful day (September 25) were officially allowed to place a Doctor of Engineering at the end of our name. Receiving that diploma marked a life-long dedication to service as a doctor – both an honor and a challenge. If is to grow and prosper, a dedication of the highest kind is indeed necessary. Being a doctor gives us the license to do so, even more than ever.

Our official dissertation title is as follows: Sustainable development of renewable energy systems for rural electrification: Off-grid solar PV cases from the Philippines. It took six full chapters to finish. Chapter 1: Introduction, Chapter 2: A review of rural electrification and RES, Chapter 3: Sustainability assessment (Panga-an Island Case), Chapter 4: Capacity and willingness of users assessment (Alumar Case), Chapter 5: Strategic energy provision modeling (LED lamps rental Case), and Chapter 6: Conclusions and recommendations. Amen to the 272 pages in total!

For this meaningful milestone, I would like to thank all of those that have supported our cause. To my professor, Naoya Abe, who always believed that we could do it and challenged me to try my best each time – thank you. To my family, who was always there to support my every need – my warmest love. To my friends and colleagues, who provided the laughter, memorable moments, and truest support along the way – cheers!

I will forever remember my time in TokyoTech and Japan. We then move forward with the spirit of discovering the truth for the greater good.

Animo gozaimasu!

William Hong

Here is the short abstract of our work:

This study focused on the sustainability of renewable energy systems (RES) through off-grid rural electrification case applications of photovoltaic (PV) systems in the Philippines – having recently pursued energy sector transformation and promulgated regulations to stimulate RES development. The first case, a sub-centralized PV application in a small rural island (Pangan-an Island), displayed how the limited financial capacity of users eventually led to the deterioration of the PV facility. The second case, a solar home system (SHS) project (Alumar Island), confirmed how users` capacity and willingness can be used to predict sustainability performance. For the third case, an alternative lighting strategy using rechargeable LED lamps was mathematically analyzed and was found to effectively serve low-income users. The findings of this study provide practical and theoretical contributions for communities, policy-makers, developers, and academic institutions pursuing off-grid rural electrification through RES.

Here is how we concluded it:

Overall, this investigation explored several key issues of off-grid RES (solar PV) sustainability. Chapter one and two discussed the foundations and scope of the investigation, noting the energy provision challenge using RES to be of global importance with local applicability. Chapter three investigated an actual sub-centralized PV system application which identified and clarified the then uncertain sustainability issues of off-grid RES projects. The challenges were summarized to be issues of users` capacity and appropriate technology matching. Chapter four explained a paradigm shift using a certain capacity and willingness approach to understand the link between capacity and sustainability. Chapter five proposed an innovative lighting provision system with sound practical and mathematical basis to address the lower-tier energy demand market of low-income users. The lessons learned have practical and theoretical implications, which can be used by several stakeholders. Through this study, important academic contributions and recommendations for further research were outlined. Furthermore, practical policy and project implications were recommended to enhance the sustainability of off-grid RES projects.