During an official handover ceremony in early November, the first of the communities – Alola, Abuari and Isurava Battlefield – received solar kits to be installed in homes, schools and health facilities.
Through the Kokoda Initiative, the Australian government is partnering with the Kokoda Track Foundation (KTF) to roll out basic solar systems to off-grid communities across the region.
Alola community leader David Soru received a solar kit, including solar panels, batteries and lights, and was thankful for the benefits solar power will bring to the remote village.
“Thank you to the Australian government and KTF for bringing this service to my community. It is up to us now to make sure we maintain the solar systems to last longer,” said Soru.
Solar power is a renewable source of energy and cheap to operate. When placed under direct sunlight for only four hours a day, solar panels can generate enough power for batteries to run three lights, charge mobile phones and use small appliances in the home.
Nearly 290 Kokoda Trail households will benefit from this phase of the project, including around 30 community facilities such as schools and health centres, which will also receive solar televisions.
Local volunteers will be trained by KTF to maintain the household solar kits following installation, to enable them to identify minor faults and make repairs when needed.
(Solar lighting systems and TVs are handed over to Alola community members)