Emergency Solar Energy Installation Project, Huni Kuin, Rio Jordão (2021)
Between January – April 2021, APOTI carried a project to maintain the solar power facilities in the Huni Kuin villages in Jordão. The solar energy situation there was deficient (especially due to lack of batteries), mainly because these type of work usually require maintenance. The project aimed to reuse the material already installed in the region, such as solar panels, charge controllers, power inverters, cables and LED lamps. These are costly materials, that existed in many villages but were not in use. So it was more coherent to think about the re-use of resources, by recovering existing systems, before installing new ones from scratch.
The Emergency Project
It was possible to carry out a wide-ranging work, which included the review, maintenance and expansion of nine facilities, which are located in the villages São Joaquim, Astro Luminoso, Boa Vista, Novo Natal, Bari, Três Fazendas, Coração da Floresta, Novo Segredo and Lago Lindo. As the indicated duration of the batteries by the manufacturer is 4 years, the batteries installed were expired and needed to be replaced. New inverters were installed and the entire damaged electrical network was recovered, seeking to increase the number of benefited houses in each village. The project also included a part of education, with maintenance classes for interested youth and community meetings to clarify questions, learn how to fix small problems and make good use of the solar energy facilities.
Solar energy is the most cost-effective alternative both environmentally and economically to the reality of indigenous villages away from the urban centers. It avoids air and noise pollution produced by fossil fuels, which have environmental and financial costs for indigenous people, their rivers and forests. One of the characteristics of this project was the decentralization of benefits, since we worked in 9 of the 36 villages in the Jordão region, in which are located in three indigenous lands: Alto Rio Jordão, Baixo Rio Jordão and Seringal Independência. In this way, we wanted to contribute to the balance in political relations between different villages, attending to increase the number of people who benefit by the projects.
Alto Rio Tarauacá and Rio Jordão (Original Image Credits: Editora Dantes)
Around 2009 to 2010, three ‘culture points’ were created in the Jordão region: São Joaquim, Três Fazendas and Novo Segredo. This was an initiative of the Ministry of Culture in partnership with the NGO Rede Povos da Floresta. Each ‘culture point’ houses the base of a solar system, three computers, a station for recharging electronic equipment, and its own lighting. This, however, did not include a set up (lamps, cables etc.) to light the villagers’ houses.
From 2014 to 2016, the Huni Kuin: Yube Baitana video game project was developed, which led to the illumination of other villages, such as Novo Natal, Astro Luminoso, Boa Vista, Lago Lindo and Coração da Floresta. Our team also repaired the São Joaquim, Três Fazendas and Novo Segredo systems, which were damaged due to lightning strikes, as well as install new equipment such as batteries in eight villages (but a small bank of batteries due to the scarcity of resources).
In 2015 satellite internet points were installed via the brazilian Ministry of Culture in the villages São Joaquim, Três Fazendas and Lago Lindo. For the internet to work, it is imperative that the solar system is operating because it is necessary to power the modem and the router.
In 2016, with support from Deep Forest Foundation (DFF), a solar energy project was carried out by Associação Povos da Terra – APOTI in the Boa Vista and Bari villages. The Bari village, as it did not have 100% of the houses lit, may have its installation complemented. In 2017 APOTI executed a short maintenance project the villages São Joaquim, Astro Luminoso and Novo Natal, restoring the solar systems of those villages.
Project Coordination: Guilherme Meneses | Technical Coordination: Alvaro Russo Jr.
São Joaquim, Astro Luminoso, Boa Vista, Novo Natal, Bari, Coração da Floresta, Três Fazendas, Novo Segredo and Lago Lindo
First Phase: 66,983.99 BRL
Gathered through this campaign: 3,605.77 BRL
Items: 10x batteries 105-115 Ah, 10x batteries 220-240 Ah, 8x power inverters 800W, 2x charge controller MPPT 20A, 1x charge controller MPPT 40A, 150x superled lamp, 32x cable 2,5mm (100m), 2x cable 6mm (100m), 2x cable 16mm (50m), 80x sockets, 80x switches, electric material, tools, protection switches, terminals, charge exceed, boat shipping, 150 liters of gasoline, 15 labor days of Huni Kuin boatman and assistant, 22 labor days of 2x solar energy specialist technicians, 1x air ticket São Paulo-Rio Branco-São Paulo, 1x air tickets Rio Branco-Jordão-Rio Branco, food, lodge and other transport.
Second Phase: 48,731.82 BRL
Gathered through this campaign: 6,796.38 BRL
Items: 4x batteries 105-115 Ah, 8x batteries 220-240 Ah, 5x power inverters 800W, 2x charge controller MPPT 20A, 1x charge controller MPPT 30A, 120x superled lamp, 33x cable 2,5mm (100m), 120x sockets, 120x switches, 30x fuse, 15x fuse holder, 9x usb charger, mc4 connectors, electric material, tools, protection switches, terminals, charge exceed, boat shipping, 130 liters of gasoline, 9 labor days of Huni Kuin boatman/assistant, 10 labor days of solar energy technician, 14 labor days of solar energy specialist technician, 1x air ticket São Paulo-Rio Branco-São Paulo, 1x air ticket Rio Branco-Jordão, 1x air ticket Jordão-Tarauacá, 1x road ticket Tarauacá-Jordão,food, lodge and other transport.