Solar Solutions PH: Empowering Communities Through Solar Energy
“There is no water, no light, no electricity.” This was how a survivor described Tacloban, Leyte in a report by CBS News after Typhoon Haiyan ravaged the Philippines in 2013.
Whenever a strong typhoon hits the country, help takes a while to arrive especially when roads are not passable. Most of the time, food items are the first to come. Water may be contaminated because of broken pipes so there are efforts to bring potable drinking water to the affected communities. However, it may be difficult to transport it in large quantities. And electricity? Well, that’s another challenging story.
When disaster strikes and you need a phone to call for help, how can you charge your phone?
This scenario is familiar to Solar Solutions PH, an SEC-registered social enterprise that seeks to provide sustainable, innovative and reliable energy solutions for Filipino communities. Their team is made up of Filipino professionals who specialize in the fields of engineering, mathematics, entrepreneurship, IT, finance and law.
When we hear about solar energy, most of us are quick to think of solar panels. But their team is slowly educating consumers and communities on a wide array of solar-powered solutions that can be used for emergency and disaster response, energy efficiency, livelihood or general supply. Most of their initial work involves systems that promote community building because that’s where the heart of their organization is: positive community and social development projects.
Solar Solutions PH reaches out to provide sources of electricity in remote communities
“We don’t just tell consumers that a product is best for them, we assess their needs, give them technical advice and propose systems (solar solutions) that will help achieve their objectives”, says Raffy Concepcion, one of their co-founders. Through investments made on research and development and their findings from years of consultations at the grassroots-level, they are able to propose for different solutions that cater to local challenges – whether it is for urban dwellers and institutions that recognize the need to shift to renewable energy or rural communities who need it most.
Solar Solutions experts promote their advocacy and provide skills training for women
Mobiya Portable Lamp
Their current line up includes products and solutions that harness the power of solar energy include the following:
1. Mobiya Portal Lamp
This is the most basic of all their products. This handy off-the-grid lighting solution can provide up to 48 hours of light and has a built-in USB adapter that can be used for charging mobile devices. It’s ideal for small-scale or personal use in communities with little or no access to electricity.
2. Light/Charging Station
This 50-watt solar power system converts solar energy into Direct Current (DC) electricity to supply households. This can power-up five LED bulbs for 6 hours and charge five cellphone units per day and can be shared by five households.
This is what a 3S (Solar Service Station) looks like.
In Smokey Mountain, Tondo, Solar Solutions in partnership with SunPower Corp., Tulay ng Kabataan and Life Project 4 Youth installed a charging station to provide electricity sources for community member and allow mothers to earn additional income by renting out and charging portable LED lamps.
3. Solar Powered Evacuation Centers
In partnership with Ateneo Disaster Response & Management Team, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and various LGUs, Solar Solutions installed four multi-purpose/evacuation centers with 750-watt Solar photovoltaic (PV) system for the Tagbanuas and other local communities of Culion, Palawan who were affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
How their large-scale energy station looks like
4. Clean Water System
This solar-powered clean water system is easily installed and can be placed in a Barangay Hall or church where community members can get their supply of clean water. A tank (usually connected to the roof) collects rainwater that is purified through a system that converts solar energy that is stored in a battery. This system can purify any fresh water such as rainwater, deep well water, river, spring or contaminated fresh water. It can also be modified to have a lighting and battery charging station as demonstrated in their work in Capiz.
Through the help of Ateneo alumni, Simbahang Lingkod ng Bayan and LGUs of Capiz and Roxas City, Solar Solutions installed this system in Olotayan Island, Capiz, which produces 1.920 liters of purified water and charges at least a hundred cellphones and flashlights per day. This has benefited the two hundred eighty seven families affected by Typhoon Yolanda.
No clean water? No problem, with Solar Solutions’ Clean Water System
Aside from their community projects, they have started working on commercial projects that facilitate energy efficiency objectives for schools, offices and residential communities. Ever heard of solar aircon? You can expect that and more ‘solar solutions’ from them this year. With solar energy predicted to be the biggest source of energy by 2050 and countries like Germany and the US making that shift to renewable energy sources, it might be time for us to start considering if we or the communities we live in are ready, willing and able. Solar Solutions PH has planted seeds in even the most remote communities in our country for disaster response, community development and promotion of renewable energy. If they can make that shift, so can we!
* All photos courtesy of Solar Solutions PH
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