Provided with solar energy converters to electricity, Margaret and Nicolaus, manage Energy Kiosks that help people in Sumba to enjoy a lantern or light. (CNN Indonesia/Feri Agus Setyawan) – Electricity is one of the community needs, both in the city and in the village. However, electricity has become a ‘luxury’ item in Sumba Island, East Nusa Tenggara (NTT) because some of the people there still unable to enjoy electricity.

In order to fulfill people’s need for electricity, at least for lighting at night, Hivos through Renewable Energy Service Center Organization (RESCO) facilitates people with ‘Energy Kiosks’ that utilize solar energy.

One of them is the Energy Kiosk belongs to a married couple, Nicolaus Dao (47) and Margaretha Katida (43). in Delo Village, Wewewa, Southwest Sumba Regency.

“Once we saw lamps in Wewula that turned out to be very helpful, it helped us a lot, because initially we only use oil lamp,” Margaret stated when visited her kiosk on Sunday (1/28).

Margaret only had been a while working on the stall with her husband. She and his husband joined the RESCO program in May 2017. At that time, she only received 50 lanterns from RESCO. However, she said, in a matter of weeks the lantern had been public demand until all of them are sold out.

Margaret said, until now there are 150 people who already have lanterns. They, she added, were registered as permanent members in the Energy Kiosk she managed.

To get one lantern, said Margaret, residents were required to become members and must pay fifty thousand rupiah. Furthermore, the owners of the lanterns are charged two thousand rupiah per-one time charging.

“When it has reached 300 times of charging. This lantern belongs to the community,” Margaret explained the maximum limit for charging the lantern.

To help with charging, Margaret and Nicolaus have installed four solar panels. The panel converts sunlight into electricity. The solar panel can hold around 400 watts.

Regarding the price of membership and the cost of charging, Margaret claimed that it was not difficult for residents there. In addition, its utilization is also a small risk for family health.

“This lantern does not harm health, and light supports household needs, so the community becomes very happy, does not feel burdened, so happy,” Margaret said.


The lantern that given to members of the Energy Kiosk. (CNN Indonesia/Feri Agus Setyawan)

The lantern given to the community resembles a flashlight. The length is about 30 centimeters. The lantern also has a long durability. When using frugally, people can refill the power of the lanterns every 4 to 6 days.

To refill the lantern’s power doesn’t take too long. When the sun shines bright, the lantern only takes 2 to 3 hours to be filled until the power is full. While if the sky is cloudy, it takes 4 to 5 hours.

Margaret stated, State Electricity Company also has a similar program by utilizing solar panels. The program is called the SEHEN lamp. However, not all people get the lamp.

The price of the tool is also more expensive, up to 250 thousand rupiah, with one solar panel and three lamps. However, the quality and the electricity storage capacity are not very good. The community must also pay 36 thousand rupiah every month.

“We also have this (solar panel lamp) from State Electricity Company. But if the electricity comes in, the lamps should be returned to the company. Currently, the process is on the installation of the poles,” she said, pointing to several poles that have been installed, but no cables have been connected.

According to Margaret, the poles that had stood on the sides of the new road were installed three to two months ago. State Electricity Company plans, she said, to make electricity can be enjoyed by people who live close to the road in March 2018.

“Not sure enough, they said in March 2018. But if electricity came in, the experience I saw from my brother-in-law is even if the electricity comes in, people still need (lanterns),” she said.


Margaret and Nicolaus have been part of the Energy Kiosk since May 2017. (CNN Indonesia/Feri Agus Setyawan)

Gaining Profits Due to Energy Kiosks

Margaret claimed to have benefited by opening an Energy Kiosk. The grocery kiosk that she opened first were boosted after many people came to refill their power of lanterns.

According to Margaret, she must pay 900,000 rupiah every month to RESCO from the profits of Energy Kiosk. However, she was reluctant to specify the benefits she could get from ‘selling’ electricity to fill lanterns.

“So far I have not noticed the benefits, but we feel that there is a profit,” she said.

In addition to serving lantern charging, Margaret also provides cellphone charging. The price for both of them is the same. From there, Margaret got a profit of 600 thousand rupiahs every month.

Margaret also has a television, which can be used by her customers while waiting for their lantern to be refilled. As a result of television and cellphone charging, Margaret was required to pay to RESCO as much as 1.1 million rupiahs.

30 Energy Kiosks in Sumba

The kiosk managed by Margaret and her husband is one of the 30 Energy Kiosks spread across Sumba Island. RESCO Technician, Jetty Arlenda Maro (28) explained that RESCO had installed energy kiosk in existing schools, as well as 50 more energy kiosks are for agriculture.

Jetty explained, not all resident could become Energy Kiosk agents. There are several conditions that must be met by prospective kiosk owners.

The first requirement, said Jetty, they must have a grocery kiosk that has already been opened. Secondly, their houses are close to other residents. Thirdly, the prospective kiosk owners must be truly willing to join the RESCO program.

“We facilitated everything, they don’t need to spend any money. The system that works is we don’t give free to Mama Margaretha, but we leave it in Mama Margaretha’s kiosk,” said Jetty.

From a total of 30 stalls, there are around 3,257 lanterns scattered throughout that ‘Kuda Liar’ Island. According to him, RESCO is responsible for the maintenance of lanterns owned by the community if any of the lanterns is damaged.

“So RESCO works in Sumba Island. The services are available in regencies in East Sumba, Central Sumba, West Sumba and Southwest Sumba,” he said.