Much of the artificial light in the rural Philippine area of Barangay Bunog comes from a solar-powered battery system financed by ADB through the Danish Cooperation Fund for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency in Rural Areas. The Philippines’ Department of Energy is implementing the project, which is rehabilitating old renewable energy systems in remote areas.
In Barangay Bunog the Department of Energy used the funds to rehabilitate a non-operating solar battery system installed years earlier. The nearest electric pole is 30 kilometers away, and it will cost the Palawan Electric Cooperative P15 million to electrify this off-grid barangay.
This time, communities were involved and trained on operating and maintaining the energy systems. With the system now running smoothly for almost 2 years, Engineer Reynaldo considers the project successful and sustainable. Users are happy to pay the fees, and others are requesting their own solar battery-charging stations. The project can also easily be replicated in other remote parts of the country, to help achieve the national target of 100% rural electrification by 2008.
“When I grow up, I would like to live in a place where it is clean, peaceful, and bright,” said 12-year-old Maureen Saylila. Bunog is already clean and peaceful and-for 2 hours each night-bright as well, courtesy of the community’s solar energy.