By ROY C. MABASA
The EU, in collaboration with the World Bank and the National Power Corporation (Napocor), on Monday led the official turnover of 30,500 solar home system (SHS) units for the benefit of households in Bukidnon, Sultan Kudarat, Davao del Sur, Cotabato and South Cotabato.
Valued at PhP1.06 billion (€18.4 million), the EU grant is part of a larger €66 million (PhP3.83 billion) investment called the access to sustainable energy (ASEP).
Household electrification in remote villages in Mindanao has been implemented since 2019 by Napocor, with technical support from the World Bank. An additional 10,000 SHS had already been installed during a previous implementation phase, co-funded by the Global Partnership for Output-Based Aid (GPOBA) managed by the World Bank.
Christoph Wagner, Head of Cooperation of the EU Delegation to the Philippines, said the European Union is committed to supporting the Philippines’ efforts to promote renewable energy and improve access to energy.
“We are proud to have funded this action which directly impacted vulnerable and isolated communities, providing a lasting solution to a basic need such as access to electricity,” Wagner said at the ceremony.
As executing agency, Napocor carried out the bulk purchase of SHS and facilitated the delivery and installation of 30,500 units to households in 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 integrated into the systems of the electricity cooperatives in terms of connection, billing, collection, operation and maintenance. With the formal turnover of SHS equipment, the beneficiary households now become members-consumers-owners of the CEs and will have the same rights and obligations as those connected to the distribution network of the electricity cooperatives. Each SHS set includes a state-of-the-art 50-watt solar panel, charge controller with lithium-ion batteries that can power at least 4 LED bulbs, radio, flashlight, and USB ports for charging gadgets.
Officer in charge of Napocor Melchor Ridulme. said that the project has been successful in many ways, as it has provided sustainable, safe and clean energy to isolated households in these areas and has increased the talents of photovoltaic technology through the professional training of our electricity cooperatives .
Ridulme expressed his gratitude to the World Bank and the EU for their support in the implementation of ASEP, especially during the difficult times of the COVID-19 pandemic.