Solar power soars in Papua New Guinea

Published: 21 Feb 2021

Solar Panels-Thank you from Telefomin outstation, PNG

In the last five years, increasing demand for solar energy installations in Papua New Guinea has resulted in a new Solar and Electrical Department for 'MAF Technologies PNG'. MAF's Joy Suarkia looks back on how they've been meeting the demand…

More people in Papua New Guinea than ever before are turning to solar power to meet their energy needs. 60% percent of households now use solar lighting, compared to just 2% eight years ago, according to a World Bank / International Finance Corp report.  

One of MAF’s recent solar installations was at Mougulu’s ECPNG Hospital last March – situated in a remote area of Western Province. For too long, the hospital was at the mercy of an expensive and unreliable diesel generator, which powered lifesaving breathing apparatus and basic lighting.

Interrupted power costs lives. Solar renewable energy however, means a 24/7 power source with constant lighting so surgeons can carry out critical operations using equipment plugged into an affordable and sustainable source.

MAF Technologies PNG Project Manager, Lukas Schadegg, explains what the solar installation at ECPNG Hospital entails:

 

PNG’s first ever fully solar powered hospital by MAF

PNG’s first ever hospital to be fully powered by solar energy was Kompiam Rural Hospital in Enga Province in the Northern Highlands. MAF pioneered this in the summer of 2019. It’s also MAF’s biggest solar power project in PNG to date, which saw a total of 220 solar panels installed over a three-week period.

Constant power essential for cooling vaccines

During today’s pandemic, fridges are an essential link in the ‘cold chain’, which prevent vaccines from spoiling in the heat. Fridges need to be plugged into a reliable power source in order to work properly. From coronavirus and cholera to tetanus and typhoid, consistently cool temperatures preserve lifesaving vaccines in the fight against disease.

Solar powered audio Bibles

Solar powered audio Bible

Solar power is also integral to reaching illiterate or visually impaired communities who have never heard of the Bible before or cannot access it by reading. Irrespective of reading ability or access to electricity, the Megavoice solar powered audio Bibles consistently deliver God’s word in a language that the listener understands. 

When Pastor Matthew Kolo started to go blind, he feared he would never be able to access the Bible ever again. MAF bought him a solar powered audio Bible and taught him how to use it – once again Pastor Kolo can enjoy life-giving scripture:

NB. This film was shot in 2019 before the pandemic.

In 2019, MAF Technologies PNG engineer, Lina Tomagau, programmed and organised the delivery of 800 solar audio Bibles for Bible translation partner, ‘Summer Institute of Linguistics’ – MAF's largest ever solar audio Bible order in PNG.

MAF then flew these devices out to some of the most isolated places in the country. Lina was delighted to be part of God’s work:

‘I’m grateful for MegaVoice‘s solar powered audio players that enable people who can’t read, hear God’s Word. It’s a blessing to work with these devices as MAF is helping to spread the Gospel throughout PNG's remotest places.’

Lina Tomagau, MAF Technologies PNG engineer

In a country where – according to the World Bank / International Finance Corp - only 13% of the population is connected to an electricity grid, thank God for solar power, which has been harnessed so effectively by MAF. May MAF continue to change thousands of lives for the better with this renewable energy.