UNIMAS Solar Energy Electrification in Long Puah, Ulu Tinjar, Sarawak
Universiti Malaysia Sarawak’s (UNIMAS) Institute of Social Informatics and Technological Innovations (ISITI) has secured funding from the Grassroots Grant Assistance for Human Security Project from the Government of Japan . This grant assistance of US$ 52,480 (RM 168,200) is to finance the Solar Energy Electrification of Long Puah, a Penan Village in Ulu Tinjar, Sarawak.
This electrification project will be carried out using a people-centred participatory approach, where the Penan community of Long Puah will be involved in the deployment, and later in the management as well as the maintenance of the project. The project will be assisted by a multi-disciplinary team from ISITI, UNIMAS alongside members of the community and private industries.
Long Puah was selected mainly due to its remoteness and distance from the power grid. It is a remote rural community comprising a predominantly Penan population of about 250 people (27 families). Long Puah is located along the Tinjar river in Ulu Tinjar, Sarawak. It requires a 5-hour four-wheel drive from Miri to Long Aton village, followed by a 1-hour journey by boat from Long Aton to Long Puah. Long Puah has no 24-hour electricity supply from the grid. Only a handful of families have their own diesel-powered generators which are rarely used due to the high fuel cost.
This electrification project involves the installation of solar home lighting system. With this financial assistance provided by the Japanese Government, all 27 families living in the longhouse and the church will be lit. Through this project, a greener and environmentally friendly power system will also reduce the emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), thus reducing the level of pollution to the environment. In addition, the adoption of this home-based solar system will also help to educate the local community on a sustainable energy supply especially for those in the remote rural areas. The project is in line with the goals to raise the standard of living as well as to increase sustainable development in rural Sarawak.
The signing ceremony was held in UNIMAS between the Japanese Government, represented by the Head of Consular Office of Japan at Kota Kinabalu, Mr. Hirofumi Morikawa, and Vice-Consul Consular Office of Japan, Mr. Kenro Takahashi. Deputy Vice Chancellor (Student Affairs and Alumni), Professor Mohd Fadzil Abdul Rahman represented the UNIMAS Vice Chancellor at the event. Also attending the event were Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research and Innovation), Professor Dr. Kopli Bujang, Director of Research and Innovation Management Centre UNIMAS, Professor Dr. Fasihuddin Badruddin Ahmad, and Director of ISITI, Associate Professor Dr. Alvin Yeo.