Yacobus Meha Rangga (61 years old) lives in Lulundilu Village, Mahu District, East Sumba. Taking care of his mother and two of his nephews who are about 8 years old, he can only visit his wife once in a while because his wife lives in Waingapu, the seat of East Sumba. He runs a kiosk as a source of income. Prior to running a kiosk, Yacobus worked as principal of an elementary school in the neighboring village until his retirement time. As the retirement time was approaching, Yacobus thought to fill his retirement days, by running a business and taking advantage of the space available at his house.
There are 335 families living in Lulundilu Village which means there are huge needs of goods on a daily basis such as foods, soft drinks, as well as gasoline which seen by Yacobus as a potential opportunity for him to running a kiosk since it is not easy for the villagers to acquire those goods.
One of the reasons why it is not easy for the villagers to acquire those goods is due to Lulundilu Village geographically located in a remote location. The distance to Waingapu is about 125 km with rocky, winding, narrow, and hilly which takes 3 hours from Waingapu by a motorcycle to reach the destination.
The business development of Sanses Kiosk that owned by Yacobus for more than 1 year attracts TERANG (Investing in Renewable Energy for Rural, Remote Communities) Project – which is a partnership project between Hivos Consortium along with Yayasan Rumah Energi (YRE) and Village Infrastructure Angel (VIA) together with Millennium Challenge Account-Indonesia (MCA-I).
TERANG Project considers Lulundilu Village and Sanses Kiosk as a precise target to be intervened by TERANG Energy Kiosk after witnessing the absence of electricity specifically the non-existing PLN grid for the majority of the village inhabitants where the nearest PLN electricity grid is about 24 km of Lulundilu Village.
In February 2017, the team of PT. RESCO (Renewable Energy Service Company) visited Sanses Kiosk to conduct an assessment and Yacobus’ kiosk was selected to be an agent of TERANG Energy Kiosk. Yacobus’ responsibilities as an agent is to run lantern and mobile phone charging services by relying on the solar power plant.
Yacobus was only requested to provide a space for the installation of four solar panels in his roof, a space for lantern charging board, a space for mobile phone charging box, a space for a joule box, and to provide a service as an installation operator.
Solar panels at TERANG Energy Kiosk distribute electricity to several equipments all at the same time, namely lantern charging board, mobile phone charging board, joule charging box, one television, and six lantern points. Charging board serves as an installation to recharge the solar power lantern. One charging board comprises of 30 charging outlets. Recharging of each solar lantern normally takes a maximum of 4 hours, often time depends on the consistent sunlight exposure on daily basis. During cloudy or rainy days, recharging solar lantern may need more than 4 hours.
As an agent of TERANG Energy Kiosk, Yacobus receives 6 lanterns, a television complete with a satellite dish, and a profit share from recharging fees. Since the initial investment to serve as an agent is relatively affordable, hence, he interested in. During the initial operation of the kiosk, he was requested to assemble a minimal of 30 local residents for future customers. Two weeks later after a meeting with PT. RESCO team, 50 local residents gathered to listen to the socialization about TERANG Project and the mechanism for being a customer. Following the socialization, people who interest to become a customer are increased. There were 78 potential customers with a total of 100 solar lanterns to purchase.
PT. RESCO team then installed the recharging installation in April 2017. During the first month, 70 lanterns had been sold, and in June the whole solar lanterns have been fully distributed by Sanses Kiosk to the customers. Each customer may access a solar lantern by paying IDR 50,000 as a membership fee (from the total cost of IDR 300,000/lantern for cash payment), under the scheme of “lease-to-own” prescribed by TERANG Project. Afterward, customers will recharge the solar lantern for 300 times for around IDR 2,000/lantern at the kiosk. The accumulated money is then used for maintenance and repair costs of solar power plants.
As of December 2017, recharging activities either the solar lanterns or recharging installations at TERANG Energy Kiosk owned by Yacobus has been running well. Yacobus’ monthly revenues from charging fees are fluctuated, ranging from IDR 122,000 to IDR 394,000.
Yacobus believes the services provided by TERANG Renewable Energy Kiosk bringing other benefits to his family and business. “The presence of the kiosk is very beneficial for our family, as we receive free lighting and entertainment, more and more local residents visit the kiosk as there are recharging facilities and TV facility.” he said.
The growing number of local residents who come to Yacobus’ kiosk impacted to the improvements in his kiosk’s turnover at about 10% based on the simple accounting record carried out by Yacobus. His experience as a principal has shaped up Yacobus into a disciplined administrator. Every business expenditure and revenue of his kiosk is recorded in his book. He even separates his expenditures between business and household.
According to Yacobus’ record, on January 2017, while Sanses Kiosk has not yet provided recharging services, the transaction value was IDR 45,050,000 within one-month period. But on August, the transaction value increased to IDR 49,345,000 excluding his fees for providing recharging services. The intensity of people visiting Sanses Kiosk increases as they recharge the solar lantern and mobile phone as well as watching television. When they spend their time watching television, some of them also order drinks and snacks in the kiosk, which indirectly affect the sales turnover of Yacobus’ kiosk.