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Philippine National Oil buys Shell solar home project

By Abigail L. Ho, Philippine Daily Inquirer,
Manila, Philippines, July 18, 2008

In an effort to promote renewable energy use and at the same time provide electricity to far-flung areas, the state-owned Philippine National Oil Co. (PNOC) has paid P17.2 million for the Solar Homes System Distribution Project of Shell Solar Philippines Corp.  Company president Antonio Cailao said PNOC aimed to lead in promoting solar energy use in the Philippines through this project.

“PNOC bought the solar home project of Shell,” he told reporters. “Now we have more than 15,000 installations in off-grid areas. Solar home panels are relatively small, but at least households get to have light at night.”  “Now we own around 15 percent of the 90-percent installation,” he added. “We would take it to the next level and increase the number of installations. We plan to install solar home panels in all parts of the country. I’m looking for suppliers that can provide solar home systems at a lower price. We plan to double the number of installations.”

Cailo said the Philippines still had three million households with no electricity and these could benefit from solar home systems that the government would subsidize. The Solar Homes System Distribution Project is a joint undertaking of PNOC, the Department of Energy and Shell Solar. It involves the sale and distribution of 15,100 solar home systems in various areas around the country in five years, or until mid-2007.

The areas include parts of the Cordillera Administrative Region, Ilocos, Cagayan Valley, Central Luzon, Southern Tagalog, Bicol, Western Visayas, Central Visayas and Mindanao, particularly the provinces of Basilan, Maguindanao, Sultan Kudarat, Sulu, Tawi-Tawi and Zamboanga del Sur.

Providing financial support for the project is the Dutch government through a grant of 5.59 million euros (about P378.6 million), representing 60 percent of the total equipment cost. Expansion of the project by PNOC will constitute its second phase of implementation.