News 2012

Sunlabob enables energy access in Marshall Islands with 1500 Solar Home Systems

Sunlabob partners with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to deliver solar energy to 1500 households

Sunlabob recently completed a project in partnership with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to provide solar-powered electricity to 1,500 households in outer atolls of the Republic of the Marshall Islands.

Sunlabob supplied and delivered the solar technology, as well as provided community-level training and manuals for the 1,500 Solar Home Systems (SHS), enabling reliable, clean energy access to several remote islands. The project was an integral piece to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community’s Outer Islands Electrification Programme, an initiative designed to reduce high reliance of imported fossil fuels for electricity generation. In recent years, with the rise of global oil prices, the Marshall Islands government has spent up to 20 percent of the national budget on fuel, creating an urgency to increase renewable sources of energy.

“The Marshall Islands’ efforts to electrify through renewable energy are a prime example of the economic imperative addressed by clean power,” said Andy Schroeter, founder and CEO of Sunlabob, referring to the fact that households in the atoll areas of the Marshall Islands either rely on diesel generators or have no electricity at all. “Providing off-grid areas with renewable energy not only enables reliable and affordable electricity, but also reinforces to these communities that clean power is a gateway to positive, long-term social and economic impacts,” added Schroeter.

To ensure the technical and social longevity of the solar home systems, Sunlabob produced technical manuals to aid maintenance technicians and also authored user manuals designed for homeowners new to solar energy systems. Sunlabob engineers also provided hands-on training with community technicians to supplement the technical manuals and user guides.

“Rural electrification can only be economically and socially successful over the long-term if the community – the end-users – are involved and empowered from the start,” said Schroeter. Sunlabob’s innovative community-based operational models that focus on self-sustaining energy programs have effectively delivered rural renewable energy and clean water throughout Asia-Pacific, Africa and India.

In line with Sunlabob’s innovative fee-for-service model that has been successfully used in several other countries, the Marshalls Energy Company – the project implementer – is utilizing a similar fee structure to rent electricity to the off-grid end-users.

Following the completed Marshall Islands project, Sunlabob is currently working with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community to supply 3,500 solar-powered lanterns and 70 lantern charging stations in Micronesia for use in schools and community centers throughout multiple villages.