Sunlabob to lead on solar PV training in Kiribati

Sunlabob Renewable Energy announced today that it has been awarded a contract to deliver hands-on Solar PV training to the local engineers and technicians of Kiribati – one of the Pacific region’s least-developed island states.

The training is being funded by the European Development Fund and will be managed by the Government of the Republic of Kiribati. Sunlabob – which specializes in bringing renewable energy and clean water solutions to the world’s developing areas – will provide manpower and expertise in both on- and off-grid solar PV installation, operation and maintenance techniques.

Earlier this year, the company won another contract in Kiribati to supply solar PV and related equipment to some of the island’s decentralized solar energy installations, which includes more than 2,000 solar home systems, village mini-grids, and hundreds of small businesses, schools and community centers.

The training will comprise two phases. The first phase will involve local engineers familiarizing themselves with grid-connected solar PV systems. They will work on the installation and commission of a 10 kWp grid-connected system at the headquarters of Kiribati Solar Energy Company.

?The second phase of training will turn its attention to off-grid solar-diesel hybrid systems, intended to implement hybrid solar systems at schools, community centers and small businesses throughout the island. There will be workshops with hands-on technical instruction and theoretical knowledge building during both phases of training.

"Providing local training is directly in line with Sunlabob’s tradition: to ensure self-sustaining, long-lasting renewable energy access by equipping local individuals with the right skills," said Sunlabob CEO and co-founder, Andy Schroeter.

"Without local capacity building, implementation of decentralized renewable energy cannot be sustainable," added Sunlabob Head Engineer, Antony Watkins, who will lead the training.

Currently, one-third of Kiribati’s outer islands have basic solar PV lighting solutions, and the island state is increasingly turning to decentralized solar power in an attempt to cut its dependancy on polluting and expensively imported fossil fuels. However, solar PV accounts for just 1% of the nation’s overall energy consumption.

"Kiribati’s approach to supplementing solar home systems with larger, more useful renewable energy generation through village min-grids and hybrid systems is a smart approach," said Schroeter. "Productive use of energy access is a key to sustainable rural development."

Sunlabob cut its teeth in the Pacific region in 2012, when the company supplied and delivered 1,500 solar home systems to the Marshall Islands, and 3,500 solar-powered lanterns and 70 lantern charging stations to Micronesia.