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Indonesia: Solar panels put to use in region without electrical infrastructure

Panasonic's local companies in Indonesia, PT Panasonic Manufacturing Indonesia (PMI) and PT. Panasonic Gobel Indonesia (PGI), have donated solar panels and storage batteries to the local government of the Regency of Boalemo, in Gorontalo Province in the northern part of Sulawesi, to be used as part of an REDD initiative.

Short for "Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation in developing countries," REDD is a global initiative aimed at reducing emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases by stopping deforestation in developing nations. Indonesia is currently facing severe deforestation issues due to illegal tree-cutting by residents of areas near tropical rainforests, or slash-and-burn farming. One measure being implemented by the government to prevent such deforestations is the removal of residents who make a living from cutting down trees or slash-and-burn farming away from these forests, and giving them alternative jobs such as animal husbandry.

Panasonic has now supplied five solar panels (total approx. 1 kW), 12 storage batteries, and one 42-inch plasma television to be installed in the district of Bongo in Wonosari, Boalemo Regency, where some of these residents have been relocated. The district of Bongo has no electrical infrastructure of its own. Until now, the only source of electricity came from small, oil-powered generators, meaning that residents were forced to live their lives with very little available electricity. The electricity generated by the newly-installed solar panels will now be supplied to meeting venues, mosques, and schools. It is hoped that this will significantly improve people's quality of life across this entire district.

A ceremony was held on November 29 to switch on the lights at a meeting venue in which one of the solar panels had been installed. Ichiro Suganuma, who currently serves as President of both PMI and PGI, spoke of his companies' donation: "It is my heartfelt wish that Panasonic's solar generators from will improve the lives of the people who have been relocated, and help reduce deforestation in Indonesia. Now, electricity will be supplied to schools, and I sincerely hope that this will be of real use in educating the children who will be responsible for Indonesia's future."