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‘Solar light bulbs’ illuminate homes in typhoon-hit areas

While some parts of the Visayas are still in the dark, used plastic bottles with solar panels developed locally have lighted up about 2,000 homes in typhoon-ravaged areas of the region.
Illac Diaz, executive director of the “Liter of Light” project, said solar light bulbs were distributed in Tacloban City and Cebu province after super typhoon Yolanda battered the central Philippines last November.
“Green technologies, it’s the right time we start using it. No power plant, we suffer in darkness. That shouldn’t be the case anymore,” Diaz said in an interview on GMA News Tv’s “News To Go” on Monday.
A "solar light bulb" is a used transparent plastic bottle filled with water, some bleach, and pieces of reflective material. A bulb bottle can emit up to 55 watts of illumination.
Originally, the solar light bulb could only be used in the daytime but attaching 1-watt solar panels to the bottle has made it usable at night. The solar panel can also be used to charge mobile phones.
“It costs P600, pero it will last for three-and-a-half years. You just have to change the batteries. One light bulb that will turn on automatically ‘pag evening, or you can use a switch,” he said.
Aside from houses, the solar light bulb, which Diaz tagged as “sachet solar energy,” may also be used to light up walkways.
According to Diaz, even more homes in typhoon-ravaged areas may benefit from the project since they are now eyeing partnerships with government agencies such as the Social Welfare and Public Works departments.
“Hopefully, we can get involved sa bunkhouses na ginagawa. Hopefully, we can talk to DPWH, we can light up all the walkways, bunkhouses. It is not the brightest [kind of light]. You don’t need big when you have nothing at all. One is enough,” he noted.
Diaz added: "The interesting thing is we were already training people in Tacloban (to use the solar light bulbs) before the disaster."

Last December, US Secretary of State John Kerry was amazed by the “Liter of Light” project after seeing it during his visit to Tacloban City.
“Sa dami dami ng bagyo na tumatama, dapat tayo nangunguna sa solusyon at ideas dahil lagi nangyayari… It’s revolutionary. The Philippines, hindi lang siya tumatanggap ng solusyon, pero sila pa ang nagbibigay ng solusyon. We need to start looking to a more diversified solution,” Diaz.
For more information about the project you may visit A Liter of Light, email or contact 0918-940-3513. — Rouchelle R. Dinglasan/JDS, GMA News