In 2014, ICSC set up RE-Charge Pilipinas (RCP) in Tacloban City, ground zero of Super Typhoon Haiyan, as a training center for renewable energy (RE) applications and sustainable solutions. It aims to show how RE can power better disaster response and rehabilitation and low carbon development. Powered by a 9.75-kilowatt solar power system, the facility is located within Tacloban’s commercial district, near the city’s port.
RCP has since launched two initiatives which aim to dismantle the myths that all renewable energy systems are technologically sophisticated, expensive and suited only for men.
The Solar Scholars program was initiated in 2015 to help community members, local government officials, and civil society representatives harness solar power for emergency response and community development initiatives. They are trained to do energy assessments in their households and communities, as well as set up, operate and maintain portable solar-powered devices called TekPaks for emergency lighting and powering of basic communication and medical equipment.
Several versions of the TekPak have been developed, informed by feedback from the communities and assembled with parts that are locally available. Moreover, the TekPaks are assembled by a community of RE enthusiasts, interns and volunteers, and Solar Scholars under the guidance of the Re-Charge Pilipinas staff.
As of November 2018, ICSC has trained 300 Solar Scholars from the provinces of Samar, Leyte, Eastern Samar, Iloilo, Rizal, Laguna, and Cagayan.
ICSC also convened the RE-Serve Humanitarian Corps, a volunteer group trained to provide solar power to humanitarian and emergency responders. The Corps are composed of responders from various local government units, humanitarian organizations, and student and other community groups.
Two RE-Serve members who are Haiyan survivors led a Solar Scholars training of Cagayan locals, over a month after Typhoon Mangkhut struck the region last year. A few months after, an all-women team from the Corps facilitated a solar scholars training and community evacuation drill in Marabut, Samar, commemorating the fifth anniversary of Haiyan’s landfall.
Also last year, RCP launched the RE-Hub, a community resource center on renewable energy and sustainable solutions. Located within the RCP facility in Tacloban, the RE-Hub is a place where people can inquire about appropriate RE systems to address their household and community needs while renewable energy technology providers showcase their products and services.
Earlier in 2018, ICSC partnered with the locals of Suluan Island, Guiuan, Eastern Samar, which the province has proclaimed as its Renewable Island Capital, to launch the Small Island Grid Electrification (SIGE) Sulu-an project with the aim of providing power for their households. The island barangay, which has never been connected to the main grid, is pushing for a hybrid solar and diesel island grid project to power the development of their island into a prime ecotourism destination and major agro-fishing hub in Eastern Samar.
In addition, RCP along with its consultants, interns and volunteers continues to innovate and test renewable energy systems such as the electric jeepneys, solar-powered water pumps, solar cooking stoves, wind turbines, and monitoring systems, as well as their potential applications for households, livelihoods and communities.
In 2014, ICSC published what may be the world’s first literary anthology on climate change composed of 26 images and 24 narratives in verse and prose in eight languages. “Agam: Filipino Narratives on Uncertainty and Climate Change” received the National Book Award in December 2015 and in 2016 received the Book Development Association of the Philippines’ Golden Book Award for Literature in English and the Special Award for Design. The book has been launched in 5 cities across the Philippines as well as in Washington DC, New York, Denver, California, and Berlin.