Localized, renewable energy solutions needed to electrify underserved communities

Cebu City—Renewable energy systems tailored fit per locality are the best solutions to rising fossil fuel prices and energy poverty across the Philippines.


This was highlighted by Cebu-based clean energy advocate Jovie Gil Montajes during the third episode of Klima Ug Kalikupan, a joint webcast series by Cebu Technological University (CTU) and The Climate Reality Project Philippines.

Montajes is a Climate Reality Leader and the founder of Light Of Hope PH, a grassroots movement that aims to help mitigate climate change and uplift the lives of the less privileged off-the-grid communities through the use of clean renewable energy technologies.

“All renewable energy sources are good, but we need to design the solution depending on the locality. While solar is good for some island communities, it will not be good for island communities where there is thick vegetation that will cover solar panels,” Montajes said during the webcast. “That’s why it should be a localized solution based on the needs of the community. We need to fully understand the problem before building a solution,” he added.

Energy poverty in the country

According to Montajes, approximately 2.4 million Filipinos still do not have access to electricity, including 500,000 families in the Visayas.

He shared that families in off-grid c0muunitis are spending up to 50 pesos per day for buying gas and paying for charging mobile devices. Families in urban marginalized communities have to pay 5-10 pesos per charge at least twice a day for one device. On average, there are 2-3 mobile devices at home.

“If you look at the island communities, the worst scenario is that they are tapping on diesel or gasoline-powered generators, which only run from 6 to 10 PM every day. And because gasoline is expensive, they have to pay at least 10 to 15 pesos to charge their mobile phones, on top of having to buy kerosene to use for their house,” he said, explaining the burden brought by the fossil-fuel-dominated power system.

Cloudgrid solutions

To provide sustainable clean energy access for less privileged and off-the-grid communities, Light of Hope PH deploys Cloudgrid units which are solar-powered generator sets equipped with a built-in IoT monitoring system for energy usage and GPS locations.

Through the Cloudgrid units, Montajes said that beneficiary communities can access clean energy 24 hours a day for lighting and mobile charging. He added that Cloudgrid units can reduce 130 kg of CO2 emissions per year, equivalent to planting six trees.

“For our beneficiaries, they only need to subscribe for the Cloudgrid units for ten pesos a day, which covers maintenance,” he said. “As of now, we were able to reduce 6.845 kg of CO2 emissions with the 53 Cloudgrid units deployed, directly impacting the lives of 265 people,” he added.

Montajes said that they are targeting to serve 1,000 households in island communities in Cebu, Bohol, and Mindanao, which would approximately impact the lives of 5,000 people and reduce 130,000 kg of CO2 emissions per year equivalent to planting 6,190 trees.

The production and deployment of one Cloudgrid unit cost PhP10,000.00. Individuals and organizations could help fund Cloudgrid units by donating at https://lightofhopeph.org/#donate