By ROY C. MABASA
The EU, together with the World Bank and the National Power Corporation (Napocor), on Monday led the formal turnover of 30,500 units of solar home system (SHS) to benefit households in Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Cotabato and South Cotabato.
Valued at PhP 1.06 billion (EUR 18.4 million), the EU grant is part of its larger EUR 66 million (PhP 3.83 billion) investment called Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP).
The electrification of households in remote villages in Mindanao has been implemented since 2019 by Napocor, with the technical support of the World Bank. An additional 10,000 SHS had already been installed in a prior implementation phase, which was co-funded by the World Bank-managed Global Partnership on Output based Aid (GPOBA).
Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, said 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,” Wagner said during the ceremony.
As implementing agency, Napocor 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).
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. Each SHS package includes a 50-watt peak solar panel, charge controller with lithium-ion batteries that can power at least 4 LED bulbs, radio, torchlight, and USB ports to charge gadgets.
Napocor Officer-in-Charge Melchor Ridulme. said the project has been successful in many ways as they 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.
Ridulme expressed gratitude to the World Bank and EU for supporting the implementation of ASEP, particularly during the challenging times of the COVID-19 pandemic.