European Union funds solar home systems for 30,500 households in remote villages in Mindanao
𝘕𝘢𝘱𝘰𝘤𝘰𝘳 𝘩𝘰𝘭𝘥𝘴 𝘵𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘰𝘷𝘦𝘳 𝘤𝘦𝘳𝘦𝘮𝘰𝘯𝘺 𝘢𝘴 𝘱𝘳𝘰𝘫𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘪𝘮𝘱𝘭𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘦𝘳
DAVAO CITY - The European Union (EU), the World Bank, and the National Power Corporation (Napocor) on Monday afternoon held a ceremony in Mindanao to mark the completion and formally turn over 30,500 units of solar home systems (SHS) installed in isolated households of five electric cooperatives (ECs) in Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Cotabato, and South Cotabato.
With an investment of EUR18.4 million EU grant, this work is part of the EU’s larger EUR 66 million-funded electrification program under the Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP). The work on the electrification of households in remote villages in Mindanao has been implemented since 2019 by Napocor, with the technical support of the World Bank. Before this, 10,000 SHS units had already been installed in the same areas, co-funded by the World Bank-managed Global Partnership on Output-based Aid (GPOBA).
“The European Union is committed to supporting the Philippines’ thrust to promote renewable energy and improve energy access. We are proud to have financed this action that reached vulnerable and isolated communities directly, providing a sustainable solution to a basic need such as access to electricity,” said Mr. Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to the Philippines.
Ndiamé Diop, the World Bank Country Director for Brunei, Malaysia, Philippines, and Thailand, said that electrification is essential for poverty alleviation and inclusive growth, stressing the World Bank is gratified for being able to contribute to the government’s last-mile electrification campaign.
“There are still more than 1 million households in the Philippines without access to electricity, most of them in remote and isolated regions or islands of Mindanao,” said Mr. Diop.
He further said that government leadership, public financing, and off-grid renewable energy solutions are critical to bringing electricity to these remote and impoverished households and communities.
Napocor as ASEP implementing agency conducted the bulk procurement of SHS and facilitated the delivery and installation of 30,500 units to households within the franchise areas of the five participating electric cooperatives: Bukidnon Second Electric Cooperative Inc.(BUSECO), Sultan Kudarat Electric Cooperative Inc. (Sukelco), Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative Inc. (Dasureco), South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative Inc. (Socoteco II), and Cotabato Electric Cooperative Inc. (Cotelco).
Each SHS package includes a 50-watt peak solar panel, a charge controller with lithium-ion batteries that can power at least 4 LED bulbs, a radio, torchlight, and USB ports to charge gadgets. The SHS is mainstreamed in the systems of electric cooperatives in terms of connection, billing, collection, operation, and maintenance. With the formal turnover of the SHS equipment, the beneficiary households now become member-consumer-owner of the ECs and will have the same rights and obligations as those connected in the electric cooperatives’ distribution system.
“The project has been successful in many ways – we have provided sustainable, safe, and clean energy in isolated households in these areas and have increased photovoltaic technology talents through professional training to our electric cooperatives,” said Napocor Officer-in-Charge Atty. Melchor P. Ridulme.
Ridulme also expressed gratitude to the World Bank and EU for supporting the implementation of ASEP, particularly during the challenging times of the COVID19 pandemic. He shared that, drawing inspiration from the project, Napocor will also be distributing SHS in its Small Power Utility Group areas using Philippine government funds.