Energy Undersecretary Josefina Patricia M. Asirit said talks are afoot among the Departments of Energy and of Tourism, Ifugao‘s local government unit and its electric cooperative for the installation of solar lighting systems along the pathways, streets and homes of the so-called wonder of the world.
“Isa sa mga tinitignan natin is how to light up the Banaue Rice Terraces area without destroying the landscape,” she said.
Based on the proposal, the DOE will fund the construction of the solar-powered streetlights and home systems, while the DOT will take charge of the “aesthetic inputs” of such facilities.
The Ifugao LGU and electric cooperative, on the other hand, will be tasked with the maintenance and operations of the solar lighting systems, which are charged during the day and used at night.
Asirit said the DOE has yet to identify the scale and cost of the project, but these should be ironed out during ongoing talks among the parties.
The government expects the project to draw more tourists to the Banaue Rice Terraces.
“Kasi ang pagtatanim pala nila dun inaabot sila ng hapon, at siyempre maglalakad lang sila hanggang gabi na. [Also, by lighting] up the pathway going to town, you can have evening treks and walks,” Asirit said.
The Japan International Cooperation Agency earlier agreed to fund a mini-hydro power facility in the tourist hub.
The facility will be able to provide 800 kilowatts of power generating capacity or nearly half of Ifugao’s two-megawatt demand.
On top of this, proceeds from the mini-hydro plant, once up and running, will partially fund the construction of irrigation systems and the preservation of the Banaue Rice Terraces.