As part of the overall strategy to achieve Palau’s 45% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2025, the Palau Energy Administration (PEA) re-informs the public of the existing home and subsidy loans available for those who will be incorporating energy efficiency measures in the construction and renovation of their homes.

In an exclusive interview with Island Times, PEA Executive Director Gregorio Decherong said that when Palau’s energy policy was adopted, they had identified that pushing for energy efficiency efforts and utilizing renewable energy sources can help Palau reduce fossil fuel consumption and meet its target.

“[Since] the development bank already has loans, we thought that it was a better way to use this funding to supplement what they are doing instead of giving out loans to build a house,” Decherong said.

“We feel that if you make a house energy-efficient at the beginning, it serves the purpose of energy efficiency for the country,” Decherong expressed.

In a separate interview, National Development Bank of Palau (NDBP) Operations Manager and Energy Program Manager Karla T. West, who has been working alongside PEA for the program, said that in 2009, they had started the Energy Efficient Subsidy Loan program through a funding from the government of Italy which was accessed through the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

Through the Energy Subsidy Loan program, the NDBP provided subsidies to new home constructions that incorporate energy efficient measures.

Palau previously received the initial funding worth $500,000 from Italy and through the program, they were able to subsidize 73 home constructions.

By 2012, Palau had once again received an additional funding amounting $200,000 and from it, NDBP was able to subsidize some 50 home constructions, West said.

The Home Energy-Efficient measures include lowering the cooling costs among homes as a lot of energy consumption in Palau are attributed to air-conditioning, West said.

Another funding also came up through the SPC to help expand the energy home subsidy program to existing homes for renovations that incorporate energy efficiency measures. Forty homes had already been subsidized through this program.

“We are not alone in utilizing the funding so we included the Palau Housing Authority (PHA) so some of their clients were able to benefit from the subsidy program,” West shared.

Another program called the Sustainable Economic Development through Renewable Energy Applications (SEDREA) also came which was funded by the Global Environment Facility (GEF) the UNITED Nations Development Programme (UNDP) as the implementing agency. Through the grant, $400,000 fund was made available for the program.

“The purpose of the program is to look at renewable energy applications,” West said.

“Those who had availed of the loan by incorporating the Energy Efficiency measures were able to notice that their energy bill, compared to their old houses, was very low,” West shared.

West said that they had interviewed those who had been granted the loan and they found out that these households had been able to reduce their power bill by 20 to 26%.

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) had also previously granted 100 solar panels and out of these, over 40 had already been installed. (Rhealyn C. Pojas)