REC’s SolarBox light up lives in Philippines

REC, a leading global provider of solar energy solutions with one of the largest vertically integrated and fully automated production facility, is bringing clean power to the Bantayan community in Philippines.

Their lives and homes were devastated when they were hit by Hurricane Haiyan. As a socially responsible corporate citizen, REC partnered Temasys Communications and donated a SolarBox to the Bantayan community through the Philippines Red Cross. In doing so, it brought them hope and helped to rebuild their lives.

REC’s SolarBox is an integrated, off-grid solar solution designed for regions that experience limited access to the grid. It is composed of a solar array comprising of 80 REC Peak Energy Series panels, an inverter system, a battery bank and a backup diesel generator.

Excluding the solar panels, the rest of the equipment are pre-assembled in a 20 ft shipping container with the aim of system deployment within 2 days of arrival on site. The 20 kW system ensures that solar power, either directly or stored in the battery bank, will continuously support the electricity load. This helps to reduce their dependence on grid and diesel power by up to 95%.

Since January, 600 school students in Bantayan have benefited from REC’s SolarBox which is used to power the lights, electric fans and computers. The school used to pay US$70 per month for their electricity usage. With the SolarBox, they only need to pay US$1.50 per month. This saves them US$68.50 per month [US$822 per year]. The savings can be channeled towards educational materials and facilities improvement for the benefit of the students. REC’s SolarBox has also helped to power 5 street lights, so its people need not live in darkness. There are plans to increase this by 10-fold with an additional 50 street lights to be connected via the SolarBox.

Jen Tan, REC’s Vice President for Sales and Marketing in Asia-Pacific said, “As a responsible corporate citizen, we want to make a difference in helping to power the world around us. REC’s SolarBox has provided the community in Philippines with a stable and reliable source of electricity and the much needed communication access.”

She added, “We are proud to be a part of the community’s growth and are heartened that our SolarBox is helping to rebuild their lives. The donation of our SolarBox embodies REC’s vision - that every person benefits from electricity directly from the sun.”

REC is looking beyond the provision of basic light and power sources to the local community. In the long term, it has plans to offer similar systems to businesses, hospitals and communities in Philippines as well as other markets in Southeast Asia.

Solar adoption is gaining traction in Philippines. According to its Department of Energy, the country’s energy consumption is expected to reach 149,067 gigawatt hour by 2030. In recent years, there has been an increasing demand for the integration of solar energy on island grids and off-grid resorts. The off-grid energy market offers huge growth potential. For instance, mini-grids powered by renewable energy are gaining popularity in Philippines. These developments dovetail with the national target of a 90-percent household electrification by 2017.

The off-grid markets are typically pegged at US$0.41 per kWh for diesel generated electricity. Going with solar at only US$0.28 per kWh is an attractive option.

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