Solar Power Business in Port Vila
Recently, John Mala established a solar power business named 'Jemsolar' in Port Vila. His main market, he is sure, will be in the outlying islands and villages surrounding Port Vila. The 240 volt power system in Vanuatu is limited, and there are hundreds of communities who currently have little or no power available. The average household has perhaps a lantern for light, and fuel (kerosene) is expensive and hard to get. The typical income of a house in Vanuatu is very low, and the exchange rate is often around 80:1.
However, people can still afford the occasional investment, and John considers a market to be present for small 'personal' lighting systems, such as the Rainbow Micro Lighting kit, or even smaller kits/devices that are currently close to production at Rainbow Power. The other jobs on John's itinerary as the only private solar installer on the island involve much larger custom jobs for wealthy expatriate landowners. In regards to our products being distributed throughout Vanuatu, John has extraordinary motivation, and is currently advertising Rainbow Power's products in a practical way across as much of Vanuatu as he can.
Power System Development
Leo Moli, Principal Energy Officer of the Vanuatu Government, tells us the next project for the energy department is power system development in large remote villages. Solar systems are often too expensive and wind systems are usually too easily damaged by the frequent storms and occasional cyclones in the area. However, sites for small Hydro systems (less than 1Kw) are plentiful, and the government is currently looking for villages with good water supply nearby. Leo suggested that our products (especially the Water Baby 2), are much more appropriately matched to the application and are more reasonably priced through John (as our retailer) than any other brands or suppliers.
Hugh Murtagh, Rainbow Power representative, was in Vanuatu for a week, the main purpose being to teach John Mala how to accurately quote and design renewable power systems. Apart from liaising with John and Leo, Hugh installed a small 24volt power system, which included 6 lights and a small fridge. Two employees of the energy department were present to observe how the basic wiring was done, and were comparing the installation to their own experience as installers for government's smaller remote power systems.