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Each school day, the students of Pulo Elementary gather on the front lawn for morning exercises; they dance to music from a sound system that is powered by solar energy. Solar power has brought light, ventilation, and multimedia to this island school that previously had no electricity.

Name: Pulo Elementary School

Location: Pulo Island, Philippines

Their Solar Story: A school powered solely by energy from the sun

Their Bright Hope: An environment that helps students reach their full potential

Pulo, also known as Volcano Island, lies within Taal Lake, home to the active Taal Volcano. Because of its unique geography, Pulo Island is not connected to the national electricity grid, so teachers and students at Pulo Elementary have always done their best without electricity. Teachers used the chalkboard when daylight was strong, while students fanned themselves during warmer weather.

The arrival of a solar panel has impacted the school greatly: Each classroom now has its own light and fan. Batteries powered by the solar panel store enough energy to power the school for three full days. This is especially valuable during the rainy season, a period from June through September, when steady rains limit the amount of sunlight hitting the solar panel.

The first thing Edmon Pampulan, the school’s 27-year-old principal, plugged in when the solar panel was installed was a television and DVD player, to show an educational program. The students were enthusiastic about this innovation, as they were with the music introduced during morning exercises. Edmon plugs in a CD player, turns on their favorite music, and students and teachers dance together at the beginning of every day. When asked about their favorite part of the day, a group of 3rd graders emphatically agreed that it was the morning exercises.

Pulo 5th grader JonnaMae says, “With solar, we can write effectively because we have lights and the fans are now working so we are not distracted in the classroom.” Solar energy provides a few simple innovations that help the Pulo Elementary students reach their full potential.

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