A renewable energy project called “DREAMS” has brought a stable 24-7 “green” solar energy supply to 20,000-household residents of Pamilacan, Baclayon, Bohol– stabilizing economic development in the island.

Financed under the Global Environment Facility’s (GEF) Support Facility for Renewable Energy (SF4RE), the solar energy project installed a 39 kWP (kilowatts peak) Photovoltaic (PV) system to the Pamilacan Island Community.

The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) has expressed support for the solar energy project that will be generating carbon sequestration credits for Bohol Province.

As the GEF Operational Focal Point in the Philippines is in DENR under the office of Undersecretary Analiza Rebuelta-Teh, DENR is gratified that  an entire 20,000 household community benefits from an energy source that contributes to reduction in greenhouse gas (GHG) emission.

A switch on event was held last October 28 in Pamilacan Island, Bohol to signal the operation of the Photovoltaic expansion project.

The WeGen Laudato Si Social Enterprise and Bohol Electric Cooperative (Boheco I) will lead the operation of the PV system.

They will also coordinate with the LGU (local government unit) and assist the community partners to have the management capacity as an energy association.

These are the other community partners of the PV project:

  1. Pamilacan Solar Credit Cooperative, a women enterprise that collects payment from consumer households at P10 per kilowatthour (kwh).
  2. Department of Education which provides the school space or roof tops for the solar PV installation.

The operation of the PV system generates financial benefits for the Pamilacan community as the share of the cooperative becomes a trust fund.

The GEF SF4RE is a $1 million facility under GEF’s DREAMS (Development of Renewable Energy Application Mainstreaming and Market Sustainability).  SF4RE’s aim is to generate renewable energy investments or financial support for renewable energy.

The SF4RE also  builds partnerships among local government units, distribution utilities, power generators and community associations to attain energy security and 100% household electrification.

The PV expansion system in Pamilacan Island is such a milestone since the island enjoyed power for only five hours per day five years ago.

Their electricity was powered then by diesel generators of the Boheco 1 through a Genset with 50 kVA (kilovolt-ampere) and 80 kVA for nightime power supply.

As soon as WeGen installed in 2017 an off grid solar PV system that supplied 24/7 electricity to the households, economic development was immediately observed.

“Economic growth flourished as the island is an ecotourism area.  Living conditions improved with additional livelihood.  Energy demand increased due to more appliances and equipment for household use and business.”

However, increased demand was ensued by shortage in supply and system malfunctions.

Thus, the PV expansion at present is needed to match power demand from additional 357 households.

“The expanded system would reduce the community usage of the diesel generators.  Thus it is expected that the average cost of energy at the family level will decrease since households will be getting cheaper power during the day.  This will also continue to support the electricity of the school,” reported the Department of Energy (DOE).

The diesel generators will only supply night-time electricity.

The additional installed power capacity may free up the demand on the Boheco Genset.  The Genset may potentially be used to run a small desalination plant which will be under a study.

The installation will also lead to the compliance of Boheco to the Renewable Portfolio Standards (off-grid) under the Renewable Energy Law. (MELODY AGUIBA)