By Jennifer Tilos
NEGROS ORIENTAL (PIA) — The Department of Energy (DOE) installed 2,300 home-based solar power facilities in 15 remote barangays in Bayawan City, Negros Oriental.
DOE-Visayas coordinator of the Household Electrification Program (HEP) Lou Arciaga disclosed that the recipient-households of the Solar Home Systems (SHS) are the Indigenous Peoples (IPs).
The off-grid hinterland barangays in Bayawan City under the coverage of the Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative II is scheduled to be energized through solar power by end of June this year.
Arciaga said this activity is considered a highlight in the implementation of the HEP as most of the beneficiaries include the indigenous people groups and rebel returnees in the area.
“More houses located in off-grid areas in Negros Oriental are expected to be lighted up using solar energy,” added Arciaga. Off-grid areas are places situated in remote hinterland areas that are not connected to the power transmission grid, she explained.
NORECO2 Engineer Ruel Badon said that they are now installing more SHS around the province including the towns of Siaton, Sta. Catalina and Bayawan City.
“Although the installation of the solar system units is free and there are no power bills to pay, consumers still pay a monthly flat rate fee depending on the wattage they availed, this is to cover the maintenance costs of the solar energy units,” Badon said.
The installed SHS provided 3 units of 3-watt LED lights, and one unit of one-watt LED light with built-in AM/FM radio and cell phone charger.
Arciaga noted that few off-grid households covered by NORECO I in the northern part of the province are already enjoying electricity through solar home system technology.
The DOE official said under the HEP more than 10,000 households in the country are targeted for SHS installation with the budge of P156 million.
In a Kapihan sa PIA, Arciaga told participants to go “green” technology using solar energy not only to reduce the cost of electric bill but also protect the environment.
She also urged local government units (LGUs) to tap renewable energy or support solar power developers to achieve energy and self sustainability.
The government provides incentives to renewable energy investors with seven-year income tax holiday, corporate tax rate, 10-year exemption from tariff duties and tax exemption on carbon credits among others. (mbcn/jct/PIA7-Negros Oriental/with reports from Lovelein Catubay, intern/This article was first published at PIA website on June 24, 2015)