Close to a thousand residents in an upland community within the 8 km. radius of Mt. Kanlaon in Negros can now have access to more medical vaccines, with their health center now powered by a 6,000-watt solar energy facility.
A satellite health center adjacent to the three villages of Barangay Yubo in La Carlota City, Negros Occidental, will benefit from this solar electrification project of South Negros BioPower, one of the top renewable energy producers in Negros Island.
The upland sitios of Labinsawan, Batocon, and Bais are located within the 8 km. radius of Kanlaon volcano, which is accessible only by a 2-km. trail from the main road.
SNBP inaugurated and turned over yesterday the solar power facility to the barangay and 50 families from the sitios received rechargeable lamps.
The project, which is a tripartite partnership among the SNBP, the local government, and the Department of Health, started September last year and the facility operated on the second week of March this year.
The cost of the project is about P1.7 million, SNBP Corporate Social Responsibility officer-in-charge Manuel Bernardino said.
During the ceremonial turnover, La Carlota Vice Mayor Rex Jalando-on said the city government is thankful for the project as it could help not only the health center but also the nearby elementary school, that could get their electricity from it in case there are brownouts.
Michael Airey, chief executive officer for Asia Pacific of Thomas Lloyd, the financial partner of SNBP, also said that the project was based on the successful implementation of an off-grid solar facility for Camangianan Elementary School in San Carlos City.
“In the past, the absence of electricity caused serious problems for people requiring medical care, and they had to be transported to the nearest health facility in the barangay proper of Yubo," Airey said, adding, "With this off-grid solar PV system, we are very proud to announce that this is no longer a problem.”
Glenn Padallone of the La Carlota City Health Office said that with the health center having electricity, they can now store more vaccines needed to implement the national immunization program in the area.
He said they can now conduct immunization on the kids weekly in the health center located in Sitio Bais.
SNBP is producing close to 190 megawatts of renewable energy from its solar and biomass plants in La Carlota City, San Carlos City, and Manapla in Neg. Occ., and in Bais City in Negros Oriental.
Apart from this project, they are also eyeing a housing resettlement project in Manapla where they are building a solar power plant.*MLG
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