Seven months ago, Humanity First of the Marshall Islands’ then-President Falah Shams and Rongelap Atoll Local Government Mayor James Matayoshi signed an agreement to use a New Zealand grant to provide solar energy for 10 Rongelap homes in Majuro.
As part of the agreement, RALGov provided a portion of money to join with the New Zealand grant to increase the funding to $55,000.
Part of the funding is being used to train and hire local trainees for the installation project.
This week, final pieces — fuse boxes and inverters — were added to the already installed solar systems in the designated homes, completing the project.
Mayor Matayoshi was expected to “turn on” the first switch during a handover to the Rongelap people upon completion of the project.
Once the solar systems are in place, recipients will have a switch that enables the household the option to use the Marshalls Energy Company’s grid or their own stand-alone sun power equipment. Once fully charged, the solar batteries can go three days without charging, making it an efficient option during power outages. The units are expected to save each of the 10 households hundreds of dollars a year on power costs.
Prior to the installations last week, over 30 individuals from the Rongelap community signed up for a two-day basic solar class with visiting expert and project Instructor Dr. Ijaz Rauf from Canada.
Utrok Mayor John Kaiko showed interest in the project and met with Humanity First coordinators to discuss a possible similar project in the near future. Kaiko also attended the solar course.
Read more about this in the September 30, 2016 edition of the Marshall Islands Journal.