When the Philippines enacted the Republic Act No. 9513, also known as the Renewable Energy Act of 2008, corporations have found several ways to explore the development of Renewable Energy Solutions in the country.
It’s a no-brainer that innovators who focus on renewable energy solutions in a developing country is filled with challenges. In the Philippines, one of the difficulties lies in the lack of awareness from citizens that minimizing our dependency on fossil fuel gas and oil reserves bring forth a more stabilized and energy secure country. The resources we use now are finite. If we continuously tap the same resources, these resources will one day diminish, becoming too expensive to avail. More importantly, exhausting these resources is damaging to our environment. This is why everyone’s involvement in the development of renewable energy solutions is paramount.
Last year, when Impact Hub Manila launched the Fellowship on Sustainable Energy Solutions with the Peace and Equity Foundation, World Wildlife Fund, and Asian Development Bank, the idea was to start a conversation in renewable energy going in Asia, especially the in the Philippines. The goal was to provide incubation and a gateway for innovative startups to develop their solutions. Out of more than 50 applicants, three startups – HiGi Energy, CleverHeat, and Solar Solutions – won the Fellowship program and went on to receive mentorship, training, and over Php500,000 each in funding, as well as access to the coworking space and entrepreneurial community of Impact Hub Manila.
Mathias Jaeggi followed the opening remarks of Ces Rondario, “People would usually hope that someone will save them [from the reality]. But we’re not hoping for someone to save us [IHM & Fellows], we’re all in the same boat. We are a network of collaboration. We’re all here because this meeting here is a giant collaboration in continuing to make an impact, a positive impact.”
Atty. Gia Ibay of WWF followed his remarks, “We’ve been looking forward to this for so long. Despite the fact that we’re a country filled with conservation, a fruitful collaboration for renewable energy would not have happened without this partnership.”
After the speeches from Impact Hub Manila, PEF, and WWF, Brian Tan Seng of CleverHeat showcased their startup’s growth and their plans for the future. They received the USAID grant on March 17 in collaboration with UPLB and Benguet State University. While in Benguet, Brian mentioned, “At the trading post, we saw 5 truck loads of organic wastes produced every day. It was a chance for us to plug in our solutions. We can help with waste management, post harvest food waste, and third, since they didn’t want to make use of appliances, such as refrigerators, for the high cost of electricity, we can provide them with a solution, our solution.”
“We see ourselves redefining the charcoal industry, and to date we’ve sold 10,000 pieces in rural areas. This charcoal is not the long term product, as we see ourselves as a Renewable company involved in doing more Renewable Energy solutions including Solar.” Leon Kee of HiGi states. He notes that due to the Fellowship Program with Impact Hub Manila, all of their goals are beginning to materialize.
Raffy Concepcion of Solar Solutions shares, “We went from container vans to smaller container vans to sustainable and compact sari sari stores. We were able to partner with the NGO Kasagana Ka – they’ll be putting the solar sari sari store in their line of products.
We were also allowed to partner and do workshops with the Ramon Magsaysay foundation. In terms of sales, we were able to meet key partners and referrals because of Impact Hub Manila and ADB, PEF, and WWF.”
While the stable and apparent development of renewable energy in the Philippines has a long way to go, it’s exciting to see that a number of people have taken interest in the topic. The commitment we’ve seen from these people have been inspiring. This is why we’re launching a third Fellowship Program with PEF, WWF, ADB, and HSBC.
We’re hoping to find more innovative startups and provide them with our the support and funding they need through our partners. Indeed, there are numerous challenges present in the development of renewable energy in a developing country such as ours. However, we implore startups to not be discouraged. The country still has a long way to go,
Interested in joining the Third Impact Hub Manila Fellowship? Click here to Sign up.