SolarSolutions is an SEC-registered corporation social enterprise that goes the extra mile to empower communities and individuals through renewable energy. The Company focuses on delivering products and services that deliver great value and produce highly positive social impacts for its customers through a profitable, sustainable, and innovative social enterprise.
SolarSolutions' portfolio includes projects in disaster response and preparedness, small to medium-scale barangay lighting and electrification, installation of solar energy systems in rural and urban households and commercial establishments, technical consultation, and operations for community-based projects that offer solar-powered applications. For the last 5 years, the Company has deployed at least 200 systems across 20 provinces in the Philippines with an estimate impact on 9600 households.
The Solar Sari-Sari Store is SolarSolutions' attempt at building a community-based energy station that provides the following basic services: lighting, clean water, energy for communications, and refrigeration to low-income communities (rural and urban) with limited or no access to a consistent source of electrical energy.
Together with a small group of private partners SolarSolutions has deployed and managed three continuously evolving iterations of this concept. Starting with lighting services, stations have been deployed at three different low-income community locations within Metro Manila. The physical structures for each station vary from differently sized shipping containers to a modular pre-fabricated unit.
The Solar Sari-Sari Store is the 4th version of this concept. This will be a new venture by SolarSolutions apart from existing partnerships and it will explore the following approaches to the energy station:
• Remove the physical structure component by partnering with locals
• Explore a battery-less setup
• Integrate mobile charging, water purifying, and refrigeration services
• Explore remote monitoring and management of the system
SolarSolutions aims to provide communities with access to basic services, including lighting, water, communication, and refrigeration. It is particularly challenging to provide access to these necessities to remote and disaster-stricken communities who need these services the most. Through the Solar Sari-Sari Store, SolarSolutions also aims to provide jobs, capacity building, and open new livelihood opportunities for its deployment partners.
In relation to evolving its existing concept and technology, the fourth generation station attempts to address the following challenges: (i) the large amount of capital expenditure for each deployment - such as the physical structure and replacement of batteries; (ii) physical space challenges and limitations - particularly in urban environments; and (iii) difficulty to remotely monitor remote areas (yet, these areas are the ones that need Solar Sari-Sari Stores the most). By adapting the Solar Sari-Sari Store, it is able to address the actual needs of the communities at a cost-effective manner.
The Solar Sari-Sari Store caters to the needs of rural and urban poor communities with limited or no access to reliable electricity. These communities need lighting during the evenings to allow people to extend working or studying hours. Urban poor communities that have little or no sunlight penetration during the day would need constant safe and affordable source of light to enable them to do their household tasks and perform livelihood activities. Clean water is a basic need for low income or rural communities with limited access to water sources. Energy to power mobile phones has become a necessity to allow family members to communicate. In rural areas, refrigeration or cold storage is a necessity to extend the life of food and to store medicines. The Solar Sari-Sari Store will also provide additional income opportunities for potential partners and jobs for those who work for them.
The Solar Sari-Sari Store is an energy station that provides communities with basic energy services: lighting, mobile charging, water, and refrigeration. The first three iterations of the Solar Sari-Sari Store were operated from container vans fitted with solar charging fixtures, and the services limited to lighting and mobile charging. While, these versions have attained some level of success, the need for a physical structure from where to operate had been a factor that delayed expansion and prohibited installation in some areas due to space constraints.
SolarSolutions intends to deploy the 4th iteration of the Solar Sari-Sari Store that is designed to be flexible and can be deployed where it is needed. The new Solar Store will operate through community partners, such as existing shops, or homes, making do without container vans/stand alone structures. SolarSolutions will install the necessary Solar PV hardware in existing stores or homes and train the local partners. The local Partner will operate the solar charging business with support from SolarSolutions through a revenue sharing scheme.
A significant part of the work in deploying these stations involve creating partnerships, training, and relationship building, that strengthens the trust of the community to the Team.
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Rey Guerrero, CEO
· Holds both a BS and MS degree in ECE from Ateneo, currently pursuing a PhD at UP, a licensed engineer with extensive professional experience working for a large photovoltaic manufacturer.
Aison Garcia, Chief Legal Counsel and Director for Strategy
· Lawyer from the Ateneo-based legal NGO Saligan, currently a legal consultant at the Department of Agrarian Reform.
Reese Macabebe, Director for R&D
· Faculty member at the Department of Electronics Communications and Computer Engineering (ECCE) at Ateneo and currently pursuing further professional studies at Berkley University in tech entrepreneurship. Holds a PhD in Physics from the University of South Africa. She is involved in extensive research on solar photovoltaic systems.
Raffy Concepcion, Director for Sales and Marketing
· IT professional, tech entrepreneur, part-time faculty at Ateneo’s ECCE Department. Holds an ECE degree from Ateneo, a masters degree in technology management from UP, and a user experience professional certification from Bentley University.
· Former SJ Jesuit priest and social entrepreneur. TED fellow. Teaches at the Ateneo Graduate School of Business. Sits on the board of several social enterprises including co-founded enterprises Rags to Riches community and Uma Republika.
Roel and Rona Tan
· Owners of Circuit Solutions Inc. - electronics equipment supplier of a large portfolio of large to small scale businesses and various subsidiary businesses.
· President and CEO, SEDPI Group of Social Enterprises; Faculty, Ateneo de Manila University Program Manager, Ateneo Microfinance Capacity Building Program. Graduated from Ateneo de Manila University and the Asian Institute of Management.
· A Social Entrepreneur and Leadership consultant. He designs innovative schemes that captures opportunities and minimizes risks for the company.