Penan longhouse gets solar lights

National 1 minute, 39 seconds

BELAIT

RESIDENTS of the Penan longhouse in remote Sukang will no longer have to rely on generators to power lights for reading after local company Tropica Solar Photovoltaic donated ten solar-powered lights on Thursday.

The portable LED solar lights, made into the shape of a leaf, require six hours of charging in sunlight for 24 hours use and are one of several solar products that Tropica Solar plans to mass manufacture and roll out to the market later this year.

Director of Tropica Solar Ak Dani Halim Pg Abu Bakar said the donation came after he and his colleagues learned about the long house, located off the power grid, having to rely solely on diesel generators for electricity.

“Helping those without electricity only makes sense as we are a solar company. In the future we will look to helping more people (without electricity supply),” said Ak Dani.

Head of the longhouse Md Azry Abdul Rahim Paran said that his community is “excited” to learn more about using solar energy as an alternative to the noisy generators.

The generators run on diesel fuel that has to be purchased at the nearest petrol station in Lumut, located at least an hour’s drive away.

“Our first introduction to solar was when it was installed at the nearby Balai Ibadat (in Sukang) a few years ago, but we have never had it personally in our homes,” said the 56-year-old.

Each of the nine living quarters in the longhouse received the small solar light, which Md Azry says will most likely be used for light reading and chores.

“This way our children can do homework, read at night without having to power up the generators, which only half the residents have direct access to,” said Md Azry.

The head updated that about 50 people live in the longhouse, which is built high on stilts on a hill that overlooks a river.

The vast majority of its permanent occupants rely on farming and fishing for sustenance.

The Brunei Times