NEA secures funding for solar projects in public schools

NEA secures funding for solar projects in public schools

PUBLIC schools in four provinces are expected to post savings by sourcing part of their power needs from solar projects led by the National Electrification Administration (NEA).

In a statement on Tuesday, NEA said it had secured the projects’ P120-million funding after President Rodrigo R. Duterte cleared the release of the funds.

Of the P120 million, P20 million is allotted for 11 public schools in Ilocos Norte, Cebu, and Nueva Ecija, while P100 million is for 33 public schools in Lipa City, Batangas.

With the installation of the solar panels in the 44 schools, NEA said it aims to “generate savings by sourcing a portion of the schools’ electricity demand from solar rooftops and to mitigate climate change through the utilization of indigenous renewable energy sources.”

The approved funds are contained in the 2021 General Appropriations Act or Republic Act No. 11518 wherein NEA was allotted P1.628 billion for its sitio electrification program, and P750 million for the electric cooperatives emergency and resiliency fund.

NEA earlier said that P1.827 billion had been allocated to support the continued implementation of rural electrification projects in the proposed budget for fiscal year 2022.

However, the approved budget is way lower than the P18-billion funding proposed by NEA to energize all households nationwide by June 2022.

The agency previously explained that it would need to connect 12,000 more sitios, which will need funding of P1.5 million per sitio, in order to make energy available to all parts of the country.

For the first half of 2021, NEA Administrator Edgardo R. Masongsong said during a virtual news conference in July that “the NEA has completed the energization of 590 sitios… 77 are located in Luzon, 187 in the Visayas, and 326 in Mindanao.” — Bianca Angelica D. Anago