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Friday, 30 January 2015 10:32

Fresh appeal for landfill-living Manila kids helped with solar on school

A Nottingham solar firm is helping the electricity bill of a school in Manila that educates children who live on waste dumps by raising money and installing solar panels, and a fresh cash appeal has been raised.

Filipino dump kids1Three friends who set up Polygrid, a not-for-profit renewables group are hoping to raise £30,000 to finance the second phase of their work to help the school in Manila run by the Philippines Community Fund, which helps lift rubbish tip children out of poverty.

Co-founder Tim Hickman is being supported by EvoEnergy, the Nottingham-based solar installer EvoEnergy where he works as technical manager.

The £30,000 would be used to fit a 75-panel, 18.75kWp system on to the roof of the school. After raising £12,000 for phase one of the project in 2013, the group hopes to be able to meet its new fundraising target in time to complete the full installation in the summer of 2015.

The solar panels installed in 2013 have already saved the charity more than £1,500 in a country where electricity is more expensive than in the UK.

The system also survived the devastating Typhoon Haiyan which hit the Philippines in November 2013. Once the project is complete, it should save the charity £6,000 each year - money that can be used by the charity in its core work.

Polygrid's team include engineer Paul Akinbadewa, electrician Richard Hillier and renewables expert Tim Hickman. The three joined together with the aim of helping people in developing countries to help themselves.

Filipino dump school2Tim Hickman, co-founder of Polygrid and technical manager for EvoEnergy said: "We're a group of friends with expertise in renewables, engineering and electronics who simply wanted to share our skills with people less fortunate than ourselves and help them to work their way out of poverty.

"The main reason I got into renewables in the first place was so I could have a job that didn't just earn me a living but could make a difference in the world too - with Polygrid that's just what I hope we can do.

"It was always our plan to split up this project – working overseas can be difficult so starting with a pilot scheme and a few achievable objectives means we can return later with experience and a plan to successfully deliver the full project. That's why, after the success of the first phase with PCF, we're aiming for a much bigger fundraising target.

"When we reach the target and get to go back, it won't be as an overseas cavalry. Our philosophy is to use as much local labour as possible and buy as many materials as we can from local suppliers - coordinating the available resources and helping the local people to build the system and maintain it for years to come."

Each Polygrid project is installed by local tradesmen using local materials, with the Polygrid team on-site only to advise and share knowledge. They plan to organise at least one project per year and hope to become a registered charity in 2015.

Visit Polygrid's Virgin Money page to donate (http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/team/polygrid).

OTHER LINKS
Philippines Community Fund (PCF) www.p-c-f.org
EvoEnergy www.evoenergy.co.uk