Palawan gov’t’s energy dev’t program lights up homes using solar home systems

PUERTO PRINCESA CITY -– Remote villages in the hinterlands of Palawan will soon have their homes fitted with individual solar home system (SHS) units to finally have power.

“The long wait is over,” said Provincial Information Officer Gil Acosta Jr. Thursday as his office announced in a statement that the Palawan government’s Energy Development Program (EDP) is now making fast progress in the distribution of the SHS.

The solar-powered lighting system will benefit the homes of qualified beneficiaries composed of marginal rural farmers, poor fisher folks and indigenous peoples dwelling in the fringes of mountain slopes dotting the provincial landscape.

Acosta said that the communities that have no access to regular electricity services will benefit from the project that has been the goal of the administration and leadership of Palawan Governor Jose Alvarez.

He said that the provincial government has prioritized earlier the allocation of a substantial amount for the procurement of 35,000 units of SHS to be distributed throughout Palawan, especially in island barangays that are not connected to the grid.

Acosta’s press statement quoted Governor Alvarez in saying: “Let us bring the services of the provincial government to the people in the barangays, especially to our poor constituents. This will be awarded free of charge. No fees will be collected from the beneficiaries.”

The first shipment consisting of 27,200 units had already been delivered to the provincial government, and distribution is now on-going in target communities traversing off-grid areas.

Acosta said that among the areas served by the project included priority barangays in the municipalities of Brooke’s Point, Aborlan and Narra.

The distribution in the municipality of Balabac – the southernmost tip of the province – is calendared on the third week of August 2016.

The solar home system set is composed of two lightbulbs with two individual switches, one portable lantern and one battery pack that could also be used to power cellphones.

Local households situated not less than 400 meters away from the existing electric post are qualified to apply for the project.

Validations of qualified beneficiaries are done by the Community Affairs Division in coordination with municipal and barangay local government units.

The distribution of solar home systems in the island municipalities particularly in northern Palawan is scheduled in the latter period of this year. CELESTE ANNA FORMOSO/PNA/