Preparations are afoot for more Renew solar-powered lighting installations in Timor Leste.
Harry Andrews, Renew’s international projects manager, recently spent three weeks visiting project partners, inspecting past projects, planning for the future and preparing for the installation of 100 household solar systems in coming months.
In Suai, a sub-district in the Covalima municipality on the southern coast of Timor Leste, Harry spoke to members of partner organisation the Covalima Community Centre (CCC). They took him to Laen Tolu, a remote fishing village of 39 households that received solar power in 2017.
“The community expressed appreciation of the benefits of solar lighting,” Harry said. “The benefits are improved security, the ability to repair fishing nets at night and increased savings through a lower spend on kerosene for lighting.”
“We are installing a further 39 solar systems in Covalima in September. The CCC will be taking an active role in community identification and preparation. Our community development partner, NATILES, provided intensive training to five CCC staff during my visit. Subsequently, the CCC has identified an appropriate community in Fatumean sub-district and is currently preparing them for the installation.”
Harry also travelled to Maucatar sub-district where there was a problem with a solar system that Renew installed on a health clinic in 2017.
“I visited the site with Dora, the chief electrician from training organisation CNEFP, and we determined that the inverter and circuit breaker required replacement,” Harry said. “Luckily, due to sage advice provided by Michael O’Connell (past Renew president), I had packed a spare inverter! Two weeks later, with some logistical gymnastics, we managed to get the system up and running again.”
At Quelicai, a sub-district in the western foothills of Mount Matebean, Harry visited a village where there is to be an installation of 60 solar-powered lighting systems in partnership with Timor Adventures in September.
“While I was there, NATILES did an excellent job preparing the community for the installation and the community expressed deep gratitude to Renew and all those who are making the project possible,” Harry said.
“My finial visit to the districts was to Baguia on the eastern foothills of Mr Matebean. I was in Baguia to meet local social enterprise Ho Musan Ida (With One Seed) that works with farmers to plant trees that generate carbon revenue for the farmers.
“Ho Musan Ida is working on a 60-household pay-as-you-go solar lighting pilot. This might be an exciting opportunity by a local enterprise for Renew to support in the future.”