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Coming soon: Solar-powered eJeepneys in Tacloban

Tacloban, May 19 — A fleet of electric jeepneys powered by the sun will soon arrive in Tacloban after a solar-powered charging facility for the vehicles quietly broke ground in the coastal city on Monday.

Once it goes into full swing, the facility will not only charge eJeepneys, it will also provide energy supplied by a 9.75 kilowatt hybrid solar photovoltaic system. The facility, will run commercial enterprises—including an Internet café—in a 750-square meter lot along Padre Burgos Street, located near Tacloban’s downtown district. The facility shall also house a full service center for the maintenance of the eJeepney fleet and the conversion of multicabs’ engines to run on rechargeable batteries.

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“We welcome this project because it will help augment the number of public vehicles in Tacloban, many of which have been irreparably damaged by typhoon Yolanda,” said Roy Ribo, who grew up in Tacloban and who now helps advise the project proponents. “This is an investment agenda that matters, because it will provide green jobs and skills for the new economy.”

The facility is part of RE-Charge Tacloban, an initiative of the Institute of Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC), which pioneered the eJeepney revolution in 2007 in Makati City. “We will hire and train local drivers and technicians who will operate and maintain the RE-Charge facility. Through new technology and tools, we are determined to invest in Tacloban’s future,” said Reina Garcia, iCSC program coordinator.

RE-Charge Tacloban aims to contribute to the rehabilitation of public transport service in the city, much of which was damaged by supertyphoon Yolanda, the strongest typhoon recorded at landfall. The typhoon has affected almost 95 percent of the public transportation sector, especially the commuter multicabs plying the San Jose and Downtown routes, according to reports from the City Traffic Operation Management Enforcement and Control Office. Office and school hours remain limited, making it difficult for both workers and students to catch a ride to their homes.

The Institute for Climate and Sustainable Cities (iCSC) works on fair climate policy and sustainable energy initiatives. It incubates ideas, innovates approaches and implements solutions.

iCSC led the national effort that established the People’s Survival Fund, or Republic Act 10174, the country’s first legislated direct access-driven financial mechanism dedicated to supporting the adaptation agenda of local governments and communities.

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