Cagbalete Island now powered by solar microgrids


Posted at Oct 16 2019 07:25 PM

If you think brownouts are so inconvenient, did you know that many parts of the Philippines still do not have electricity? Some provinces, though rich in natural resources, suffer in darkness, having to make do with kerosene lamps at night. 

Cagbalete Island, with around 800 residents, was among these places without electricity for years. Although known for its pristine beaches, this island would still be plunged into darkness at night. 

This is until Manila Electric Co. (Meralco) worked on its pilot solar microgrid in the island. 

Their microgrid combines solar panels and battery technology, with gen set back-up to jumpstart Cagbalete's transition towards renewable energy. This energy transition is a journey towards shifting of energy from fossil-based to lower-carbon energy, to eventually go pure renewable energy in the future.

Meralco, committed to developing projects that are "reliable, dependable, environment-friendly, and at competitive prices without any subsidy,” then utilizes solar microgrids as a solution for these underserved areas.

Screenshot of solar microgrids from Meralco's website

Bladie Gubantes, a councilor and resident of Cagbalete Island, said that this project is a big help for the island. Through this, he no longer has to use 'gasera' or gas lamps.

"Maginhawa na [dahil] may liwanag na. Di katulad nu'ng una, papatay-patay pa 'yang generator na 'yan [kaya] may pagdidilim pa,” said Pacita Rotagenes, also a resident of the island.

Yet, even as there are initiatives such as this, the whole country is still far from making renewables self-sufficient. In the meantime, Meralco partnered with Liter of Light Foundation to aid communities in their energy transition. Its main goal is to create a self-sustaining cycle within Cagbalete Island by teaching the residents to make solar lamps that can be a source of their income when sold.

"It won’t happen overnight but together we can make it happen sooner," said Illac Diaz, founder of Liter of Light.

While the energy transition may take a while, it is good that the Philippines has already embarked on this journey.

Get more information about Meralco by visiting its official site.

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