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Dutch, Indonesian universities develop new solar energy system in Papua

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A Dutch-Indonesian initiative has developed a new system for photovoltaic (PV) solar energy, offering a solution to rapid increases in electricity demand in Indonesia due to the country’s vibrant economic growth and rising prosperity.

Solar energy expert from Twente University, Angele Reinders, who is also the project leader, said the new system could produce about 50,000 kilowatt hours (kWh) of electricity per year, the equivalent of saving around 5,000 liters of diesel and 11,000 kilograms of coal annually.

“A pilot plant has been installed in Papua. We have provided training courses in the field of solar energy, and there is now a monitoring system for the PV system,” said Reinders, an associate professor in Industrial Design Engineering at the university, in a release made available to The Jakarta Post on Thursday.

She further said that the local town hall in Jayapura, where the project took place, is now using the solar energy system, and has become largely self-sufficient regarding its energy needs.

Reinders received a grant of 700,000 euros from the Dutch government to develop grid-connected PV systems in Indonesia.

Under the program, Twente University and its local counterparts, namely the Bandung Institute of Technology (ITB), the World Wildlife Fund and various local installers, have worked together to develop the PV system in Papua over the past two years.

“Until three years ago, Indonesia had hardly had experience with solar energy systems that were connected to the grid,” Reinders said.

“Due to the growing demand for [the] utility, the local electricity network has suffered many blackouts. Noisy and polluting diesel generators have dominated views of streets [in] the city. In remote areas of Papua, diesel has to be flown in for generators,” she added.

The program also set up training courses on solar energy. Ten ITB professors are currently conducting researching on solar energy and more Indonesian engineers are being trained. Some of the engineers are undertaking a Master’s in Sustainable Energy Technology, a degree program offered jointly by Twente and ITB.

An Indonesian PhD candidate is set to join with the Department of Design, Production and Management at Twente and will focus on the stimulation of solar energy in Indonesia. (ebf)

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