'Run for Light' campaign for solar power in off-grid areas

By Anna Valmero

TAGUIG CITY, METRO MANILA—Nonprofit Stiftung Solarenergie - Solar Energy Foundation (StS) launched a benefit run that campaigns for the provision of solar energy lamps to off-grid areas in the Philippines.

Proceeds of the run will go to the funding of solar lamps for StS beneficiaries. Race director Edmund Mangaser said that they hope to gather at least 1,500 participants in the different race divisions to acquire at least 200 solar lamps for distribution.

According to research by StS, Filipino households without electricity spend P7,000 to use 230 candles in a year, eight batteries in a month and a liter of gasoline each week to light their homes.

“The cost that families in off-grid areas spend just to buy dry cell batteries is about 2,000 times more expensive that the light coming from Meralco, for example,” said Chinie Canivel, program manager and officer-in-charge for StS dring the program launch.

Beneficiaries who received the solar lamps from StS relay to the group that they were able to encourage their children to study more and excel in school.

With the lamps to help them do their homework at night, students in far-flung areas spend 45 percent more of their time at night to study, with some even earning honors last school year, said Canivel.

The solar lamps distributed were from SunTransfer; it uses a 90-lumen LED technology and can light for 10 to 100 hours, depending on the setting. It can be charged via solar energy, which is free and can also use rechargeable batteries in case of rainy season. A unit costs P3,000.

To encourage ownership of the solar technology, the lamps are loaned to households through a simple payment scheme: they will pay P5 to P10 for up to a year to acquire the unit.

“This encourages them to take care of the technology, which is better than dole outs since they can be neglected,” said Canivel.

Previous campaigns of StS in the country included Hike for Light, Sail for Light and Bike for Light, which catered to hiking and motorcycle enthusiasts, which helped distribute 1,300 solar lamps nationwide, according to Jim Ayala, chairman of the Solar Energy Foundation.

“Through the fun run, the variety in distances will allow both casual and serious runners to campaign for our goal to bring light to

The race set on at Fort Bonifacio Global City will have race distances of 3K, 5K and 10K, with registration feeds of P400, P500 and P600, respectively. The race will start at 5a.m. on July 21, with registration until July 19.

For more information, visit their Facebook page for updates.

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