The Department of Energy (DoE) and the European Union (EU) on Thursday held a switch-on ceremony for a joint project to bring electricity to some 100,000 households in off-grid communities in the Bangsamoro region.
EU Head of Development Cooperation Enrico Strampelli and DoE Undersecretary Felix William B. Fuentebella spearheaded the ceremony for the solar power for electrification and livelihood projects in the presence of around 300 participants from the local and national levels at the DASURECO compound in Digos City, Davao del Sur.
The switch-on ceremony represents the energization of households in Sitio New Mabuhay and the 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.
These initiatives are supported by the DoE and EU through the Access to Sustainable Energy Programme (ASEP). Under the program, the EU provided about €60 million grant to the Philippine government for the implementation of a program that will 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.
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 del Sur. 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,” DoE Secretary Alfonso G. Cusi said in his keynote message delivered by Fuentebella.