Resilience with Solar: Lessons Learned from Typhoon Yolanda

Resilience with Solar: Lessons Learned from Typhoon Yolanda

What lessons have we learned from Typhoon Yolanda?

  1. Basic necessities will not always be available.
  2. Disaster preparedness programs must be recalibrated.
  3. Investing in renewables will help prevent future disasters.


You’re probably wondering how solar power and solar systems from the Philippines fit in with disasters and resilience and we understand the confusion. We’ll get there, though, so just stay with us.

The Filipino people have always been known for their resilience. We’ve been hit by disaster after disaster – earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, and typhoons – and at some point, we’ve learned to cope. We smile and laugh in the face of devastation. We exhibit kindness to our fellowmen.  We become united to help our country stand back up.

The way we brush off terrible situations and constantly look at the bright side is nothing short of admirable but also equally troubling. In our attempt to power through, we fail to analyze our situation and find out why these disasters are happening. As a result, we move on without ever learning anything valuable.

On November 2018, it will have been 5 years since the Philippines was hit by one of the strongest and most devastating typhoons to ever make landfall – Typhoon Yolanda. As destructive and traumatizing as it was, Yolanda snapped us out of our delusion. We couldn’t just brush it off like any other disaster. We had to know why it happened and how to prevent it from happening again. Finally, we learned.

Dozens of lessons were gotten from this devastating attack and the most important ones are listed below.

Basic Necessities Will Not Always Be Available

Basic Necessities Will Not Always Be Available

In the event of a natural disaster, it is always safe to assume that a total systems breakdown will occur. Communication towers, power grids, and water pipelines may be destroyed while supermarkets, gas stations, and other establishments will be closed. Supply of the most basic human necessities such as electricity, food, water, fuel, and telecommunications will be cut off and each family or person will be left to fend for themselves.

Knowing all this and when the disaster will hit – assuming also that you listen to news and weather forecasts – you should be prepared to stock up on said items. As for the counter to the loss of power, solar and hand-cranked gadgets should be enough to get you through. Sometimes a disaster hits without warning, so it’s best to be prepared even in good weather.


Disaster Preparedness Programs Must Be Recalibrated

In years prior to typhoon Yolanda, access to energy has always been a constant oversight. Many failed to notice that communities suffered mostly due to the lack of access to electricity. Even those who resorted to kerosene lamps eventually ran out of fuel. After the events of Yolanda, however, disaster preparedness programs have been recalibrated to better cater to the needs of the affected.

Coordinators have proposed for portable and solar-powered electricity to be an integral part of disaster-preparedness programs. One device that caught the attention of many is the Solaric Lite, which is a self-contained solar kit that could power 3 light bulbs and charge cell phones.

In an emergency event such as a super typhoon, making sure you have phone batteries could save a life.

Investing in Renewables Will Help Prevent Future Disasters

Investing in Renewables Will Help Prevent Future Disasters

The importance of energy and access to a better source is perhaps the most important lesson we have learned from Yolanda.

Storms and typhoons are continuously being made; it’s a natural process that cannot be prevented. But there are ways to weaken it and its effects. Global warming is the main reason these typhoons are so destructive. It is believed that a warmer Pacific is able to create stronger storms and Yolanda is an example of that.

So instead of focusing on disaster response and preparedness, why don’t we put our efforts in disaster risk reduction. We can do this by investing in renewable energy sources such as solar power. Doing this will reduce negative impacts of fossil fuels, which is one of our main energy sources.


Key Takeaway

It’s unfortunate that it took such a destructive and devastating typhoon for us to learn our lessons, but by now it’s way too late for regrets. Yolanda has already taken millions of lives, so hopefully, the lessons we learned from it can help us save just as much and more.

Communities should be able to realize the true worth of renewable energy. The possible effects it can have on our environment and the ways it can help those that have been struck by disaster. Solar energy, in particular, has been proved useful in such instances, which is why people have started to invest more in it.

There are many organizations and humanitarian actors that are ready to help those interested in solar power and solar systems in the Philippines. They are always ready to inform the public about solar panels and energy. Families can easily seek them out in order to become more equipped to face and survive disasters.

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Solaric: Challenging the Status Quo

Solaric: Challenging the Status Quo

“Solaric, you won our business because you are passionate on what you do and answered every concern we have” that is what our last client said on why he chose us.

We simply said, “Solar is something we take very seriously.”

Every company has its origins and defining moments. Here is our story.

We started the concept of SOLARIC as a research project for our other business: a BPO call center back in 2013. Philippines was and still facing runaway electricity rates and in order to remain competitive in the global market, we had to rein in costs to run a 24/7 call center. Electricity cost cutting and energy efficiency is important to run a competitive call center. We first tried to use inverter air cons in 2005, then LED bulbs in 2012. Our call centers simply used 1/2 as much energy as our competitors. It also helps when you used to supply backup power systems for the US space program.

Net metering

In our quest to make our air conditioners run on solar without batteries in 2013, we made our electric meter stop spinning legally and asked Meralco to implement what was then an unknown energy program protected by RA 9513, a national energy law with Net Metering provision. It is when a homeowner or a business owner will be able to sell back excess solar electricity without batteries or need for separate wiring. So, we pushed hard to have one of the first Solar Integrated Circuits to sell back to the grid—our secret sauce known as SOLARIC and replicated thousands of times all over the Philippines.

Using solar panels priced in the Philippines made economic sense then and a slam dunk decision now. But what really makes us tick is that we were really masters in analyzing electrical bills, finding ways to improve operations, and applying the optimum amount of solar so a business can save, thrive, and dream of powering any electrical appliance with renewable energy. Close friends and relatives wanted this SOLARIC contraption as it stops the electric meter on its tracks and we were booked solid to put it on roofs to run air cons. We were about to do our first paying job with our first commercial batch of solar panels when Typhoon Yolanda happened. People in civil defense and relief work asked if we can make a “solar generator” because of horror stories of infants dying on incubators without power and of people who cannot be contacted as there is no energy for a cellphone charge. These scenarios are something we simply could not ignore, and throwing a few bills to Red Cross didn’t cut it; we felt the urge to act.

Life before business and country before money are something that we hold dear in what we do. Without reservation we found ourselves driving a truckload of solar panels priced in the Philippines and dozens of donated Motolite batteries into a power dead Tacloban, Leyte. We brought with us a list of all the places where we need to install emergency solar—places such as a relief center, a public school, a clinic, and a pediatrician. We refused to charge a profit and installed solar charging stations well below cost because we refuse to profit from misfortune.

For six weeks, we were literally powered by smiles, SPAM, repacked relief goods, and cries of relief when we removed the curse of darkness for the Yolanda survivors.

What we saw in those six weeks is something that we wish no one will ever see or smell, but we also saw the beautiful and indomitable spirit of the Filipino to smile, laugh, and survive despite what happens. It changed our psyche and views on climate change.

Today, we are still as hard charging as ever; Turn On the Sun is what we do.

Simply put, we are known as the solar company that challenged the status quo, counted to deliver power in mission impossible, and now give the Filipinos a choice to use electricity-sourced from a monopoly owned coal plant or from a Juan De La Cruz-owned solar panel on top of his house.

If you want to learn more about us, go to this link. You may also email us at or call us at 0917 860 3141.

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