The Department of Energy (DoE) and the European Union (EU) are pushing ahead with the energization of off-grid communities that would benefit close to 100,000 households, especially in the Bangsamoro region.
EU Head of Development Cooperation Enrico Strampelli and Energy Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella spearheaded the commemoration of the Switch-On Ceremony for solar power of electrification and livelihood projects on Thursday (November 8).
These initiatives are supported by the DoE and EU through the Access to Sustainable Energy Program (ASEP).
Around 300 participants from the local and national levels attended the ceremony at the DASURECO compound in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
The EU provided about €60-million (3.6 billion) grant to the Philippine government for the implementation of a program that would increase the share of indigenous and renewable sources in the energy mix and expand the access to electricity services in remote areas and populations and to pursue new energy-efficiency strategies.
The switch-on ceremony represents the energization of households in Sitio New Mabuhay and thousands of households in other off-grid areas in the country. It also highlights the productive use of renewable energy for increased income generation in rural communities.
Under ASEP's Photovoltaic (PV) Mainstreaming program, about 40,500 solar home systems (SHS), each with a 50-watt peak capacity, will be installed in remote off-grid communities in various provinces in Mindanao.
To date, the SHS installation has been completed in Sitio New Mabuhay, Barangay Little Baguio in the Municipality of Malita, Davao Occidental.
About 100 recipient households are already enjoying the benefits of superior lighting from solar PV.
Through the technical assistance of ASEP, a 3-kW solar PV system that powers two units of abaca spindle machines was likewise installed to demonstrate additional economic opportunities in remote communities through renewable energy.
These installations in New Mabuhay represent an “electrification with livelihood” approach for off grid areas.
ASEP is being carried out as a partnership between EU and the DoE. Other key stakeholders include the National Electrification Administration, Energy Regulatory Commission, National Power Corporation, electric cooperatives and local governments.
“Rest assured, the DoE and our partners-stakeholders will continue to explore more projects that will benefit our brothers and sisters in remote areas through innovative solutions,” Energy Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in his keynote message delivered by Fuentebella.