U.S.-Funded Solar-Powered Boat to Serve Vulnerable Communities in Palawan

On November 8, the United States government, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), launched the Adlao Azul, a solar-powered boat that will help improve mobility and delivery of basic services across remote island communities in Palawan.

Developed by Oceantera Energy Corporation through a Php25-million ($452,000) grant under USAID’s Energy Secure Philippines project, the Adlao Azul is equipped with a U.S.-made battery system and high-efficiency bifacial solar panels, allowing it to cruise for over six hours on clean energy.  It comes with a cooler and freezer storage for the transport of food, vaccines, medical supplies, and other essential goods for residents on the islands of Coron, Culion, and Busuanga.  The boat also allows the timely delivery of emergency supplies during power outages and natural disasters.

“USAID has been working closely with the national and local governments, as well as the private sector to expand the use of renewable energy across different sectors such as transportation, agriculture, island electrification, and disaster response,” said USAID Philippines Environmental Officer Dr. Paul Brown. “We look forward to our continued partnership with the private sector, particularly investors, resort owners, and boat operators to support a low-carbon ecosystem.”

“These [solar-powered boats] are very transformative technologies that address not only climate change mitigation but also support the livelihood and economy of communities. I am hoping that this be replicated in other islands,” former Climate Change Commission Assistant Secretary Joy Goco said.

Following the launch of Adlao Azul, USAID and Oceantera will work to expand the commercial availability of clean energy-powered boats in Palawan by documenting supplier networks and regulations, establishing franchise agreements, and linking potential funders with potential clients, such as boat operators and builders.  Through this initiative, USAID seeks to pioneer the use of renewable energy in modernizing transportation and enhancing the logistical chain in delivering essential goods and services.

Energy Secure Philippines is USAID’s five-year $34million activity that aims to mobilize investments, deploy modern energy technology, and support policy reforms for a more competitive energy sector that can drive future economic growth and social development in the Philippines.