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    Posted June 2, 2014 by
    alrr
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    Residents in off-grid communities benefit from Solar Electrification

     
    For families living in off-grid communities, life slows down once the sun sets in. With only the flame of a candle or a kerosene lamp to serve as their light, nights for these families are unproductive, not to mention dangerous.

    Through the partnership among the Department of Energy, TeaM Energy Foundation, Inc. and Quezon Electric Cooperative II, a total of 5,551 households in the Polillio Group of Islands in Quezon no longer live in total darkness every night as their homes are now electrified through solar energy.

    The electrification program, dubbed as Project HEART and SOUL (Household Electrification Assistance through Renewable Technology and Social Preparation for the Upliftment of Lives), benefitted 5,551 households in the municipalities of Burdeos, Panukulan, and Patnanungan.

    A number of off-grid stand-alone, individual solar home systems were installed in the mentioned municipalities. These solar home systems provide not only LED lamps but also built-in transistor radios and cellphone chargers which residents of Polilio Islands find very useful.

    There are two phases of Project HEART and SOUL -- Phase 1 which electrified 3,400 households in the municipalities of Burdeos, Panukulan, and Patnanungan and Heart and Soul Phase 2 that lighted 2,151 households over 12 barangays with 50 sitios in the same municipalities. Additionally, 32 units of streetlights were also installed in public areas like basketball courts and parks.

    Residents appreciate the readily-available, brighter and time-extended lighting they get from the LED lamps – a big improvement from the kerosene lamps they used which are costly and not to mention hazardous to their health and safety.

    Project HEART and SOUL began in January 2010 and was completed early this year. To fully involve the residents of the island not only as beneficiaries of the project but also as able partners, the Renewable Energy Community Development Association (RECDA) was organized.

    “The RECDA was organized to sustain the electrification program anchored on a multisectoral and community driven approach,” said Roderick De Castro, Executive Director of TeaM Energy Foundation. Members of the RECDA were given trainings in putting up micro businesses and financial literacy. The officers were also given technical training in using and managing the solar home systems.

    The Heart and Soul Project has touched the lives of thousands of families especially the young ones. “Our children used to study in the dark using only a kerosene lamp as their source of light,” said Allan Batalla, resident of Panukulan and President of RECDA in their community. “Ever since the solar panels have been installed in our homes, their grades in school remarkably improved for they can study better at night.”

    The HEART and SOUL Project’s essence is to promote dignity and well-being among the beneficiaries by providing them with basic amenities including light. This project is TeaM Energy Foundation’s participation and partnership with the Department of Energy’s electrification plan to energize at least 90% of sitio households by the year 2017.


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