LIMASAWA, Southern Leyte, (PIA) — If plans do not miscarry, this historic place will stake another claim in the country’s history as the first local government unit to go solar for electricity needs of its residents.

Well, not exactly a pure, full-speed reliance from the sun’s boundless energy, for they will still use the existing generator, like what they are using now for evening light only, said Mayor Melchor Petracorta, but just the same the use of hybrid power system is a history-in-the-making event.

“The National Power Corporation will provide the materials to generate electricity using the sun, our counterpart is the site, and as of now we are waiting for the deed of donation from the lot owner,” Petracorta told PIA in an interview during a break on the occasion of the DILG conferment of Seal of Good Local Governance early this month.

That translates to a P 50 million to P 60 million investment for the state power-generating firm and no equity on the part of the LGU except for the provision of enough land space for the solar power plant, which is more or less half a hectare.

The prospect on using solar energy for the island came about when PIA inquired on updates of a submarine cable line proposed two years ago by former Energy Secretary Jericho Petilla.

On July 1, 2013, Petilla, the guest speaker during the 53rd Southern Leyte founding anniversary, spoke about the island’s inclusion for submarine cable projects.

Petracorta said the plan was eventually shelved due to prohibitive costs, and solar power was seen as a more viable alternative.

With stable, 24-hour power supply, other tourism-related projects may follow, like the long-held idea to put up a huge, tall cross in the island, in which visitors can climb by elevator, and the horizontal side of the cross utilized as internet café and other business uses, the Mayor mused.

He exuded confidence the solar project can start the soonest possible time once the deed of donation for the lot from the private owners to the name of the LGU can be perfected. (mmp, PIA8-Southern Leyte)