Our main projects are currently in Vanuatu, Indonesia and Honduras.
We are actively developing further pipeline projects in Africa and elsewhere.
If you are interested to help build in your area,
or to invest in such projects,
feel free to contact us.
Vanuatu is in the South Pacific, with a population of about 250,000 people, of whom approximately 150,000 people or 30,000 households live in offgrid villages outside the main towns. The population is spread over many islands, making transport and communications difficult and expensive. The country was directly be one of the largest cyclones on record in March 2015, destroying home, crops and infrastructure. Several earthquakes have also hit the country in the following 12 months as well. VIA is helping the government achieve its mission of providing universal access to electricity and communications by 2020. The first projects were built on Tanna Island in the south with the help of IRENA, Rotary Melbourne and angel investors, in partnership with our local partner ACTIV Association, a fair trade social enterprise that specializes in cocoa, coconut, spices and handicrafts from its wide network of farmers. These projects included solar lighting solutions as well as the first solar mills that VIA developed with Project Support Services. The project has now received scale-up support from USAID's Powering Agriculture, GSMA and more angel investors. The national telecom company TVL is also assisting in the project, as well as the Departments of Industry and Energy, with the aim to scale up to 5000 households or more by 2018 with services for solar home lighting and phone charging systems complemented with solar agro-processing mills for the main crops of the country, such as coconut and cassava graters, meat and kava mincers, and other productive end uses like refrigeration and battery-based power tools to help with rebuilding. The early IRENA project is summarized in this video and information on current projects can be obtained by contacting us. To help plan projects, we are mapping all households across the country, and developing rural electrification network plans like these examples on Malekula Island and Tanna Island.
Indonesia - Sumba Island
VIA is assisting a Dutch organization, Hivos, with their Iconic Island project, to help Sumba Island in eastern Indonesia to become 100% renewable by 2025. The island population is over 600,000, of which approximately 50% have no access to electricity, or 60,000 households. Of these, at least 50% are likely to be reacehed by grid extension from the main 10 MW diesel grid network, but the most remote 30,000 households (an offgrid market the same size as in Vanuatu) are likely to need isolated power system solutions such as minigrids and solar home systems. As in all our major projects, VIA first mapped the households in the focus area, starting with Central Sumba where 70% of 10,000 households are offgrid, and planned out a roadmap of what infrastructure may be required in which area, then started building the project. The focus is on solar lighting, phone charging and agro-processing mills, and a video showing the mills in action is shown below. The reactions speak for themselves - a 1 hour job of shelling corn and smashing it into four with rocks to make 1 kg every day to feed the family became a 5 minute job with the solar mills. The potential time saving of each mill over 5 years for a 100-household village is 100,000 hours, the equivalent of 10 full time jobs. This project is now scaling up to 2500 households with support from the Millennium Challenge Account - Indonesia and other investors.
In eastern Honduras, the poorest part of the country is Gracias a Dios, where the vast majority of 100,000 mostly indigenous people live in conditions far worse than the rest of the country or central American region, including a lack of access to electricity. Rotary, though their clubs in nearby Roatan Island and from Arlington, Texas have been building water projects with local partner The Norma Love Foundation for many years. An angel investor from Arlington connected the Rotary groups to VIA in 2013 due to past investments together, and a pilot project for 200 households as funded by Rotary and several angel investors. This project is now in the final stages of assessment by two institutional investors to scale up the project to around 2000 households, with a focus on both solar home lighting systems and also solar milling to help local women decrease manual labour and use the saved time more productively to earn additional income, which VIA and its local partners will help to sell in local and international markets. The local Government and Mayor from Puerto Lempira have also lent their support towards the project. VIA and its partners hope to help all 15,000 households in Gracias a Dios gain access to electricity by 2020.