Solar Lamps Brightens Life in Isabela

The next storm that will cut the power in communities in Isabela province won’t stop the families in continuing living with light.

When the main electricity is down, families can now easily switch on easy-to-build solar lamps, which a foundation introduced to about 1,000 residents of Barangay Cabiseria 10 here and the coastal town of Palanan on May 11.

A climate-resiliency project, the Liter of Light of My Shelter Foundation trained the residents to put together solar-powered “gasera.”

My Shelter Foundation organizer, Illac Diaz said “LED bulbs are wired to miniature solar panels with the use of a copper board. Its rechargeable batteries are a generic component found in nearly all computers and [are also] locally available.”

Residents were taught to make and repair solar lamps, “as we know that Isabela is one of the worst-hit provinces in the past typhoons,” Diaz said during a forum here that was joined by Miss Earth 2016 Katherine Espin of Ecuador and Thelmo Cunanan Jr., Georgia honorary consul to the Philippines.

The project has been described as “a global open-sourced movement aiming to provide ecologically sustainable solar lamps and cost-free lighting for simple dwellings with thin roofs.”

“The project helps provide affordable and sustainable solar light to rural areas aside from springing hope to economically disadvantaged communities using a social enterprise model with effects that reach far beyond the glow of a tiny LED,” he said.

“Most electric posts go down during disasters. What we have are kerosene-lighted lamps. However, with these solar-powered lamps, you spend only P500 to P1,000 to be used for about five years.”

Aside from teaching rural folk, Diaz encouraged them to produce the items by buying raw materials to be used for their livelihood.

“We cannot do it alone. We want the grassroots to use indigenous products and green energy as a bottom-up approach,” he said.

The foundation has teamed up with the Vice Governors’ League of the Philippines to replicate the training on solar lamp making through a memorandum of agreement so that the technology could be introduced in 81 provinces across the country, according to Isabela Vice Gov. Antonio Albano.

“Investing in green energy is vital. In fact, we urge investors to donate P10 to help rural villagers in this livelihood,” Albano said.