Toshaos to undergo training to install, maintain solar units

Technicians from the Hinter-land Electrification Unit will soon be dispatched to several Amerindian communities to start training Toshaos to install and maintain solar home systems currently being distributed there.

Chief Executive Officer of the Hinterland Electrification Unit at the Office of the Prime Minister Horace Williams told the audience at the 5th National Toshaos Conference on Tuesday that although government is still awaiting the release of the Norway funds to facilitate the implementation of the project, all costs the Toshaos incur to attend the sessions will be covered
and they will receive a stipend for attending each day of training.

“The persons who will be trained are expected to go back to their respective communities and spearhead the installation of panels, which include installing the panel itself on the outer part of the building and the installation of switches and bulbs, internally,” he said, according to a Government Information Agency (GINA) report.

Williams also said each household will be required to pay a monthly fee of $500, which will be put into a fund managed by the village councils to be used for the replacement of bulbs, batteries and water to complement the system.

Government has approved the procurement of about 11,000 65W solar home systems, financed from the national treasury, which will be distributed to indigenous communities countrywide. GINA said residents will be tasked with maintaining their systems, which will be installed on each home and a wooden cabinet provided to house the batteries. One person from each village will also be trained in basic bookkeeping, to ensure that proper records are kept for the collection of fees and the maintenance expenditure. Communities are also expected to establish management committees in this regard.

In response to issues raised at the meeting, Williams said ladders will be provided to clean the panels and a team will soon visit the communities to determine other needs regarding the project. Five centres will be established in Region Nine to ensure persons from all communities benefit from the training.

GINA also noted that recently the Ministry of Amerindian Affairs distributed 574 solar panels to 16 Amerindian communities in regions One, Two and Nine, under the Unserved Areas Electrification Programme.

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