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The Franciscan Youths (YOUFRA) of Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor: Feeling triumphant after giving their share to the community. Tree planting and clean up activities are one of the regular activities of these youth to help mitigate the adverse effects of climate change following their weekly formation at the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Parish in Enrique Villanueva, Siquijor. (pia-siquijor/Rizalie Anding Calibo)
Central Visayas Region

PIA Press Release
Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Solar energy to light up 75 more houses in off-grid areas in NegOr

by Rachelle M. Nessia

DUMAGUETE CITY, Jan. 31 (PIA) -- Some 75 houses located in off-grid areas in Negros Oriental are expected to be lighted up using solar energy during the first quarter of this year.

Said houses are located in off-grid areas in Vallehermoso, La Libertad and Guihulngan towns which are within the coverage area of Negros Oriental Electric Cooperative I (NORECO I).

The solar home system technology will be installed in 25 houses in each of the three towns.

Off-grid areas are places situated in remote hinterland areas that are not connected to the power transmission grid.

Some 300 off-grid households covered by NORECO I are already enjoying electricity through solar home system technology last year, according to Lynn Manlalangit, NORECO I institutional services division manager.

The solar system units were purchased using a P10.5 million grant from the Department of Energy (DOE).

This after NORECO I was chosen as one of six pilot electric cooperatives nationwide to implement DOE’s solar energy project funded by the World Bank.

“Our board of directors met last year and during that meeting it was identified which districts in our area will benefit from the 300 solar energy units,” said Manlalangit in an interview with the Philippine Information Agency.

The testing districts chosen last year were the towns of Guihulngan, Ayungon and Bindoy.

“The money left over from the multi-million grant last year will be used to purchase the additional solar system units for this year,” said Manlalangit.

Although 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,” explained Manlalangit.

Consumers who availed of solar panels running on a 50-watt peak pay a flat rate of P195 while those with 75-watt peak, P295.

The 50-watt peak solar panels can energize up to three electric bulbs at 7 watts each. For 75-watt peak panels, consumers can use four bulbs.

The solar panel and batteries are covered by a one-year warranty from the supplier while first time replacement of busted electric bulbs is free, added Manlalangit.

NORECO I is one of two electric cooperatives distributing electric power supply in the province. It covers 11 towns and cities in the northern part of Negros Oriental. (mbcn/RMN/PIA-Negros Oriental)

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