This is the road that leads to a district in Cabug Village in Bacolod City. It’s narrow and bumpy, making it inaccessible to most vehicles.

What made the situation worse was that around 200 households in the district of Ilaya did not have enough access to electricity and water.

The local electric cooperative could not erect electricity poles in a private property in the area as it required the consent of the owner.

This was a huge blow for Ilaya considering that backyard farming is common among housewives. They even formed the Association of Small Farmers of Purok Ilaya or ASFa-PI, which is benefitting from the Agriculture Department’s greenhouse project for the community.

To sustain its operation, power is needed. But just last year, things started to change for the better.

A 1.6kW solar photovoltaic system was installed in the community donated by research institution Center for Energy, Ecology, and Development or CEED.

For members of ASFa-Pi, it’s a welcome development.

The garden has also become a charging station for members of the organization.

ASFa-Pi board member Merlinda Demetrial visits the site everyday not just to watch over their vegetables, but also to charge her bulb.

Purok Ilaya is an example of how a community can take control of their access to electricity while promoting clean renewable energy.

Griderick Alila, Visayas team lead of CEED, highlights the impact of their project, which is seen to boost the livelihood of Purok Ilaya residents.

However, water supply remains scarce in the area. Residents have to buy water for P4.00 per container.

The construction of a water system is almost done. But it needs power for the water from underground to reach the storage area. Residents are hoping that the government can help them get more solar panels to run the water system.

For residents of Purok Ilaya, renewable energy is their only hope to have access to their basic needs.

In response, Bacolod City Mayor Albee Benitez asked the Energy Department to allow the local electric cooperative to directly purchase bulk power from renewable sources of energy in the province. The island of Negros is producing abundant renewable energy from solar, geothermal and biomass

Just recently, the DOE gave the mayor a verbal approval.

At present, power costs P16.02 per kilowatt hour. But if the DOE allows local cooperatives to buy bulk power from renewable energy sources at a lower cost, it may further ease prices for consumers by P3.00 per kilowatt hour.

Negrenses hope that they will be able to enjoy the benefits of abundant clean energy in their province soon.

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