Vivant’s EU-funded rely project to power off-grid schools in Bohol

POWERING SCHOOLS. Sabine Schacknat (left), project director of Project Renewable Energy for Livelihood and Youth, inspects the solar panel array that serves as a teaching tool for the Electrical Installation and Maintenance tech-voc track offering at Daanbantayan National High School. (Contributed photo)

TALIBON, Bohol—The Renewable Energy for Livelihood and Youth (Rely), a project funded by the European Union, will soon power up off-grid schools in Bohol province using solar energy.

The project will serve at least six remote schools in Bohol by 2020 when the solar equipment is expected to be installed.

Shem Jose Garcia, executive director of Vivant Foundation, the main proponent of the project, said the Rely project in Bohol is expected to provide at least 200 kilowatts of solar power once it gets operational.

The project tapped the Electrical Installation and Maintenance (EIM) strand of the tech-voc track for senior high students under the K-12 education program to ensure the sustainability of the project.

In Bohol, Vivant has partnered with the San Jose National High School in Talibon, Bohol to integrate the solar power installation and maintenance in its EIM tech-voc curriculum.

“Our main goal is energizing off-grid schools,” Garcia said at the turnover of the training equipment to the senior high school Friday, Aug. 9, 2019.

This school will serve six off grid schools in towns of Bien Unido and Talibon by providing them the manpower who are graduates of the tech-voc course to maintain the solar panels which will soon be installed.

The equipment provided to the school include photovoltaic panels, inverters, batteries and power tools, as well as a laptop and a projector to enable instructors to effectively teach EIM students about solar power installation and maintenance.

Garcia estimated the Rely project in Bohol would likely cost around P20 million in the acquisition of solar panels and other equipment.

The EU-backed project, also jointly implemented by international development organization sequa gGmbH and non-government organization Process-Bohol, has also identified Cebu and Palawan as the other two province beneficiaries.

The Rely had gotten the approval for a P120 million funding under the EU-Access to Sustainable Energy Program.

Meanwhile, in Cebu solar power training equipment were also turned over to two schools in Daanbantayan and Bantayan on July 2019 to boost the EIM curriculum in these schools and reach the same goal of training students on solar installation and maintenance.

Maintaining the solar rooftop installation will soon be part of the on-the-job training for EIM students.

According to Willy Hick, program manager of the EU delegation in the Philippines, the reasons that Rely was among the seven granted funds out of 71 proposals is because of its smart design, well identified beneficiaries, link to education, relevance and strong strategic alliances with the government.

He also noted the strong partnership among partners in the energy sector, community and social development.

In the past, some solar electrification projects have not been sustainable because they did not come with the education on how to repair and maintain the equipment.

That is how the project, Vivant’s Garcia said, is all about— incorporating an education component into the project.

This is the first time solar technology is being integrated into the EIM course in senior high school anywhere in the country.

Vivant is working with the Department of Energy and the Technical Education and Skills Development Authority to create a new curriculum which can be replicated in other schools in the country.


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