Spreading the Light through Solar Lamps to Fight ‘Energy Poverty’

Wednesday, 23 April 2014

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It’s power to the people, via the common plastic bottle.

As part of the annual Earth Day celebration, barangay officials and representatives from Metro Manila’s 17 cities were, on Tuesday, taught how to assemble low-carbon solar street lamps using readily available materials, which is then connected to plastic pipes.

All you need to make a solar light bulb is a used transparent plastic bottle filled with water, some bleach, and pieces of reflective material. A bulb bottle can emit up to 55 watts of illumination.

The effort to spread the word on the solar bulb is called “Light the City,” a joint project by the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority (TESDA), the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), and non-government organization My Shelter Foundation.

In an interview with GMA News Online, actor, philanthropist and My Shelter Foundation founder Illac Diaz, explained that the project was based on his group’s Liter of Light movement.

The movement aims to teach people how to make and assemble solar-powered light bulbs using locally-sourced materials. And the street lamps they are teaching the barangays to make can cost up to P2,500 to P3,000. Parts of it can be easily replaced if damaged as most of it can be bought locally.

“Lahat ng materials has a lifespan… but if you don’t know how to repair it, you throw away the whole thing,” he said. “But if you look at it, most of it is mostly local products… So you can repair it.”

Recently, the Liter of Light proved how easily the solar lights can be made by lighting up around 2,000 homes in resource-scarce areas hit by super typhoon Yolanda.

My Shelter Foundation started the Liter for Light program in the Philippines in 2012. The project has since spread to 25 other countries, including Columbia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, and Switzerland.,

For her part, TESDA’s Special Projects Director Sonia Lipio said the agency has provided the cost of production and the training of those who will engage in the assembly of 34 solar street lamps for Metro Manila.

Each city in Metro Manila will be given two of these solar street lamps, which will place in footbridges and other areas with poor lighting.

Meanwhile, the MMDA will be in charge of sourcing more funds to improve and add more street lamps in the cities.

“They will choose an overpass in their city na walang ilaw o hindi konektado sa electricity at lalagyan nila ng solar light, isa lang,” said Diaz.

Diaz hopes that this is only the start. They had earlier focused on the Visayas region, specifically, areas hit by Yolanda. And part of their long-term plan is to expand the project to Mindanao, where power shortages continue to loom.

“If the Philippines can do a people power revolution to take away the dictator, why not take away the dictatorship of energy poverty,” he said. “Why not use the power of the people? That is what we are known for.

“What we are saying, we can light up the cities, we can light up every corner of the Philippines.” — DVM, GMA News

Read the article on GMA News Online >>