The Energy and Mineral Resources Ministry has distributed energy-efficient solar cell lamps to residents of Puldama district, a remote area in Papua that has been without electricity for 73 years. Thanks to the ministry’s work, residents’ houses are now lit by the solar-powered lamps.
Puldama district is one of the ministry’s main targets in its mission to provide energy resources to the outermost, remote and underdeveloped regions of the country. True to the government’s vision of relying on environmentally friendly energy sources, the ministry has chosen to distribute the solar cell lamps, which source and store sunlight energy during the day to generate light that can shine through the night.
On Aug. 11, the ministry distributed packages containing solar panels, solar cell lamps, USB chargers and poles supporting these panels to the remote district’s eight villages. The packages contain enough facilities to light up around 30 houses in each village.
The ministry has shipped the lamps to the eight villages by air. There are no high roads connecting the district to the Yahukimo regency center, where most administrative work takes place. The only route connecting the regency to the district is a small pathway that takes people two days to reach the district from the regency, crossing forests and ravines.
A number of locals say they find the illumination of their houses by these lamps to be useful.
According to Rimba Kuebu, 19, for example, the illumination allows them to maintain a safe distance from their fireplaces, thereby not inhaling its toxic fumes, helping them avoid respiratory problems. Previously, these people were not able to see the fireplaces, thereby could not help but to inhale its fumes, due to the dimly lit setting of their houses, according to Rimba.
Another resident, Yakobus Simalya, 31, said thanks to these lamps, now local students could study at night.
“Previously, no children could afford to study at night because it was very dark; they could only study until around late afternoon. Now, they can spend more time studying into the night [thanks to the illumination these lamps provide], hopefully it will boost their academic achievements and help them continue their studies to higher education,” Yakobus said.