MANILA, Philippines, June 8, 2018 /PRNewswire/ -- As the Philippines accelerates clean energy use and electrification of far-flung, off-grid areas, Inclusive Business (IB) models in the energy sector show a promising approach to powering 2.36 million Filipino households without electricity. IB companies make relevant products and services accessible to low-income communities. They also train members of these communities to become effective suppliers and partners. Because of IB's capacity to reduce inequality, it is a preferred activity under the Philippines' 2017-2019 Investment Priorities Plan (IPP) formulated by the Philippine Board of Investments (BOI).
Hybrid Social Solutions, Inc. (HSSi), an example of IB, increased solar power access to more than 220,000 individuals who used to depend on hazardous lighting and power sources. HSSi was the only company from the energy sector to join the first ASEAN Inclusive Business Awards 2017, which the BOI initiated with the Asian Development Bank, ASEAN Business Advisory Council, Credit Suisse, and the International Finance Corporation.
"Creating more Inclusive Businesses in the energy sector has the potential to reach untapped markets that continue to live off the grid," said Philippine Trade Undersecretary and BOI Managing Head Ceferino Rodolfo. "As we try to find a balanced approach in meeting energy needs and protecting the environment, we see Inclusive Business playing an essential role in tapping more sources of clean power."
HSSi designs products that meet the basic energy requirements for shelter, livelihood, education, and health. Impact assessments of HSSi's solar lamps revealed that reduced costs on kerosene and batteries helped improve productivity and increase household cash flow by 25 percent. Students also get to study 45 percent longer. In terms of health and safety, solar lamps decrease smoke inhalation and fire risks.
HSSi organizes Hybrid Value Chains (HVCs) that include technology partners, accredited technicians, people's organizations, microfinance institutions, and cooperatives. HVCs reach out to consumer groups, make micro-financing available, and provide technical support to communities with limited or no power supply.
Building Solar Hubs near off-grid markets is key in HSSi's strategy. As the building block of HSSi's rural operations, Solar Hubs serve as a meeting venue, showroom, service center, warehouse, research and development center, and emergency center.
In the long run, HSSi plans to open Solar Hubs in ASEAN, a move that could lift 130 million people out of energy poverty.