It is sometimes hard to imagine living without access to energy. People are used to waking up and going to sleep surrounded by appliances and everyday objects that rely on power. More often than not, it is a daily necessity we take for granted. However, not everybody can enjoy the delights of having electricity.

As a matter of fact, the National Electrification Administration reported in 2018 that only 141,300 households (58% of homes) in Palawan were energized.

To complete their daily tasks and activities, locals in these communities rely on kerosene lamps and old generators. While it may suffice for some of their needs, these items tend to damage the environment, and adversely affect the health of locals and wildlife in the area.

Pilipinas Shell Foundation, Inc. (PSFI) believes that access to clean, reliable, and sustainable energy is something everybody deserves. To help these communities, PSFI came up with the groundbreaking initiative, project SINAG.

SINAG stands for Save, Invest, Nurture Access to Green Energy and Technologies, also known as the Access to Energy (A2E) project. SINAG was established in 2014, providing energy to off-grid locations that have no prospects of being connected to an electricity grid in the next 5 to 10 years.

SINAG provides energy to these communities with the use of a specially designed microgrid. The microgrid has an average generation of 4,650kW per month. It harnesses power from renewable energy sources such as solar, wind, and hydro. The result is a reliable, affordable, sustainable, and community-based power source that can provide energy to the community for generations.

In 2020, PSFI inaugurated two microgrids in Palawan, the first being in Barangay Maytegued then in Sitio Albaguen. The microgrids power 166 households in Maytegued and 117 more in Albaguen, providing over 1,315 individuals with access to energy. Additionally, a third microgrid was inaugurated last August in Sitio Casoyan, San Vicente to power 140 households.

Furthermore, SINAG expanded its reach to Batangas and brought light to the fence line communities of Shell Import Facility Tabangao or SHIFT. While SHIFT’s energy needs are taken care of by its own solar farm, surrounding roads still remain dark due to the absence of streetlights.

To enable safe travels and instill a sense of security among the residents, solar-powered streetlights will be provided to SHIFT’s surrounding communities under PSFI’s SINAG project.

Initial installations took place in January at barangay San Isidro, with work ongoing for barangays Tabangao and Ambulong. Once these installations are completed, SINAG will have provided 66 solar-powered lampposts to these communities.

As a way to ensure the sustainability of project SINAG, community members are also trained to manage and sustain the installed microgrids and streetlights, providing them with the knowledge to address foreseeable problems that may arise in the future.

Since its inauguration in 2014, SINAG has provided 24/7 access to energy either through a microgrid or individual solar home systems. So far, the project has provided power to 963 households or 4,845 individuals across 11 communities. SINAG has also eliminated the use of an estimated 800 kerosene lamps and decommissioned 35 diesel generators.

Access to energy empowers communities in more ways than one. It makes way for livelihood opportunities, allows more time for school learning, and generally improves the quality of life.

SINAG is aligned with the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. It is among projects worldwide that aim to provide clean, reliable, and affordable access to energy for everyone. Lighting up the country one community at a time, PSFI helps more and more Filipinos get to see a brighter Philippines ahead.