Update from Balurebong: Village Fund for Clean Energy Technologies
Balurebong, a small village on Lembata island, in Eastern Indonesia, invested a portion of the Indonesian Government funded “Village Fund”, to make solar lights available for all households in that unelectrified village.
“Electricity has been a long, ongoing challenge for us, so households use kerosene lamps. It is not beneficial for them, for health and economically. Kerosene is very expensive here, around Rp10,000 (US$1) per litre,” said Marcelinus Taring, former Village Head of Balurebong.
Initially the village government planned to use the Village Fund to buy diesel generators for the whole village. But they changed their minds and chose solar home lighting systems instead because they are more efficient and sustainable.
“I was in Lewoleba looking for diesel generators, and I saw a poster from Kopernik promoting the solar lights,” said Marcelinus.
Solar light is not a new technology for them. A few years ago, the Indonesian Department of Mining and Energies distributed twenty solar lights to villagers in Balurebong, and they were very well received.
“They really like the solar light because it doesn’t need any fuel whatsoever, all we need to do is just charge it under the sun. The problem was, we did not know where to get more solar lights in our region. So when I saw Kopernik’s poster in Lewoleba, I was very excited,” said Marcelinus.
Marcelinus contacted Kopernik to gain more information about the solar home systems. The technology comes with three bulbs for different rooms in the house, a portable lamp, and the ability to charge mobile phones - all powered by the abundance of sunlight available on Lembata island. After a couple of discussions, the deal was finalised.
80 Sun King Home Plus solar home systems have been installed in the 80 households in Balurebong.
“People in our village are very thankful with this solar technology, they are becoming more productive. Now they can wake up and start their activities earlier in the morning without having to wait for the sun to rise. Dark Balurebong nights have now become brighter,” said Marcelinus with a big smile.