Caritas PH, Sorsogon diocese inaugurate solar setup to power facilities
The Catholic Church inaugurated on July 31 the solar PV systems in three pilot sites – Home for the Clergy, Sts. Peter and Paul Cathedral, and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary – in the Diocese of Sorsogon.
August 1, 2018
The Catholic Church on Tuesday inaugurated the solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, which will supply electricity to major facilities in the Diocese of Sorsogon.
The PV facility will cover electricity consumption in at least three pilot sites — Home for the Clergy, Saints Peter and Paul Cathedral, and Our Lady of Peñafrancia Minor Seminary.
“This historic event is our concrete response to Pope Francis’ call to care for our common home, as articulated in the encyclical, Laudato Si, and to the Philippine’s Renewable Energy Act of 2008” Archbishop Rolando Tria Tirona, National Director of Caritas Philippines.
The ceremonial switch-on was witnessed by more than 500 priests and the religious from all over Bicol region attending the 3rd Bicol Priests Congress.
“This is a clear message to everyone that the Church is serious in its energy campaign, amidst the failings of the government to fully implement the renewable energy law,” said Bishop Arturo Bastes of Sorsogon.
Data from the Energy department showed that the Philippines is yet to realize its goal of doubling the installed renewable energy capacity of the country ten years after the enactment of the law.
Caritas initiated the signing of the Memorandum of Agreement with WeGen Distributed Energy Phils., Inc. in March 2018 to install and operate solar power systems, battery energy storage facilities, and software with no cash-out requirement, to churches, church facilities and buildings, schools and off-grid communities.
With the partnership, at least 43 out of 85 dioceses are now in the process of installing and fully utilizing solar PV systems to augment and later minimize dependence from private electric power distributors.
Sarge Sarmiento, WeGen CEO, said that that are “humbled to be an instrument and partner of the Church in accelerating our country’s transition to renewable energy marked by energy democratization, and so to realize our shared vision of eradication of energy poverty towards social transformation. ”
Caritas Philippines, also known as the National Secretariat for Social Action (Nassa), has been at the forefront in promoting resistance to coal mines and the construction of coal-fired power plants in the country.
Fr. Edwin A. Gariguez, Executive Secretary of Caritas Philippines, said they will always consider coal as energy source to be “dirty and destructive”.
“Now we have a better alternative which in a way balances power. From private energy providers monopolizing trade and supply, we now let communities claim their prophetic power to light up their houses from a common source that is renewable and clean,” he said.
Caritas Philippines/Nassa is the humanitarian, development and advocacy arm of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines.
It also serves as secretariat to the 85 diocesan social action centers in the country and represents the Philippine Church to the global confederation of Catholic charities – Caritas Internationalis.