Let there be light: Electrification using green energy

3 min
August 25th, 2023
Respond Global

As part of Respond Global’s support of the Vanuatu government, the team onboard HELPR-1 has been working alongside the Department of Energy to enable the electrification of remote communities with renewable energy.

The team has helped collect vital data from almost 50 communities and has serviced and repaired over 100 solar-powered energy systems at shared community facilities such as schools and health clinics. The maintenance and repair of these systems have a big impact on these remote communities, particularly since many were damaged during the twin cyclone event earlier this year.

Solar technicians Wilson Avock and Amon Tari were able to repair a solar energy system in the maternity ward of Lolowai Hospital on the island of Ambae in the remote north of the archipelago. The ward can now provide much-needed lighting for labouring mothers throughout the night. In Aligu, a very remote community in northeast Pentecost, the primary school has had no lights for over 2 years. Wilson replaced the regulator, rewired the system and the school now has lights.

Data officer Gibson Tari has been collecting data on work done to date, to inform future projects and assist the government in coordinating organisations that would like to contribute to the electrification of remote communities.

Other repairs have included:

  • Fixed nebulisers at various critical but remote locations, which are essential for the emergency care of asthmatics.
  • Repaired the church lighting system in Lolowai so that attendees may now hold devotion at night.
  • At Baitora on Maewo Island, the solar system at the medical assistance aid post has been out of order for over a year, meaning there were no lights for emergency situations. A regulator and batteries were installed the system rewired.
  • In Port Vila, solar street lighting was installed in community number 3, helping improve personal safety and preventing falls as a result of no lighting.

In this video, solar technician Gibson Tari explains more about what the team have been doing.

Follow the team’s progress on our HELPR-1 Facebook page.