Local communities benefitting from Department of Energy and PCREEE partnership

Friday, 07 May 2021

Port Vila, 29th April 2021.

The Department of Energy through the Barrier Removal for Achieving National Energy Road Map of Vanuatu (BRANTV) project has successfully partnered with the Pacific Centre for Renewable Energy and Energy Efficient (PCREEE) based in Nukualofa, Tonga to promote capacity building and training program in off-grid Renewable Energy technology applications for local communities. The Training program remains a cross cutting component of delivering priority programmes for both the Department of Energy through BRANTV project and also to achieving the PCREEE priorities areas.

This partnership had led to co-funding the Local Operator Training (LOT) on Stand Alone PV Solar systems at Kole village on East Santo island. The one- week training was conducted from Monday 19th April 2021 to Friday 23rd April 2021 and attracted a total of 20 participants from the island of Mota Lava, Maewo, Malo, Santo, Ambrym and Malekula.

The participants are from the islands of the BRANTV demonstration sites of RE Community-Scale PV Solar systems. Two women were included in this cohort. The training ended with an actual practical exercise to fix solar systems and wiring of households of Kole village.

The local operator training was delivered by Pacific Vocational Training Centre (PVTC) and is certified by the Vanuatu Qualification Authority (VQA) as Unit II, covered solving basic problems in photovoltaic energy apparatus and systems.

Participants attending the training will be certified to repair and maintain stand-alone PV solar systems. They can serve their community and local market with the skills they had acquired through this training. They are also capable to repair and maintain installations of RE Community Scale PV solar systems by BRANTV project and be paid by the management for their labor. They have the opportunity to start their business and earn income from serving the community. Participants can pursue further career opportunities in engineering and technology with Vanuatu Institute of Technology (VIT) after acquiring this training certificate.

At the closing ceremony, the chief John Hov of Kole village had expressed his acknowledgement towards the Department of Energy, BRANTV project, PVTC and the funding partners GEF/UNDP and PCREEE to host this technical training program. In his words, he mentioned people in the community have invested in solar lightings and this is the right training that is needed to fix problems they have with their solar systems.

Participants had witnessed the importance of this training and left their families behind and traveled the sea and air to arrive at the training location. Speaking at the closing session, one of the female participants expressed her gratitude and stated as a mother, she made sure that everything at home was in order to her expectation. Her challenge has always been having access to good lightings for her family especially when their solar lights have technical problems. She is happy to say that she is now capable of fixing the solar lightings for her family and people in her community.

The training program is funded by GEF/UNDP and PCREEE and delivered through BRANTV with plans to replicate the same training module to cover all the demonstration sites of RE technology.

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