09 May 2018
A number of communities situated in far-flung and remote parts of Mindanao where expansion of electricity grid facilities is extremely challenging will soon no longer have to live in darkness, thanks to solar home systems (SHS).
The National Electrification Administration (NEA) disclosed the installation of a Photovoltaic Mainstreaming system for 5,000 households within the coverage areas of Cotabato Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Cotelco) and South Cotabato II Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Socoteco II) is on course for completion at the end of June this year.
Engr. Ernesto Silvano, Jr., who heads the Office of Renewable Energy and Development (ORED) at the NEA, said another 5,000 SHS units are scheduled for delivery and installation starting next month for the chosen households within the franchise areas of Davao del Sur Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Dasureco) and Sultan Kuldarat Electric Cooperative, Inc. (Sukelco).
The PV Mainstreaming is an initiative of the Department of Energy (DOE), funded by the European Union - Access to Sustainable Energy Program (EU-ASEP) through World Bank. The NEA, which has supervision over all the electric cooperatives across the country, is the implementing agency.
The project is divided into two bidding windows. Window 1 involves 10,000 SHS units while Window 2 involves 30,500 SHS, the procurement process of which is undergoing finalization.
Engr. Silvano said SHS is a viable option for dispersed households located in rural and remote areas that are too far or no access to the electricity grid.
"For dispersed households that cannot be connected to the grid, this is the option. This is in line with the NEA's Strategized Household Electrification Program (SHEP), which is concentrated on off-grid," he said.
ORED initiated SHEP three years ago but the program only took off during the leadership of NEA Administrator Edgardo Masongsong through grant aids.
Electrification data show there are 19,740 sitios across the country that are still without access to electricity with 1,702 identified as "off-grid," which are found mainly in Mindanao with 1,003, followed by Visayas with 557, and Luzon with 142.
To electrify these off-grid areas, the NEA is undertaking two options: one is through SHEP and the other is through Strategized Sitio Electrification Program (SSEP), which targets clustered households that cannot be energized by either sitio electrification or barangay line enhancement programs.
These are part of the NEA's wider strategy to accelerate the attainment of total electrification of the country within the term of President Rodrigo Duterte.
The Rural Electrification Program, since its inception in 1969, has energized 78 provinces, 90 cities, 1,385 municipalities, 36,051 barangays, and 121,513 sitios, benefiting 12.280 million households or nearly 60 million Filipinos as of February 2018. NEA
CAPTION: Some off-grid communities in Mindanao gain access to electricity through solar home systems. Installation of photovoltaic mainstreaming system to 5,000 households within the area coverage of Cotelco and Socoteco II started mid-April this year.