Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar

by BHN Association
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar
Solar Power to Villages in Karen State, Myanmar

The 3rd Phase of installing solar systems to 5,200 household in the Karen EAO areas started in Dec.,2018 and was planned to end by the middle of July 2019.

In the mean time , as the extra fund is procured due to the competitive bidding procedure ,BHN decided to add 915 more houses to install solar systems.

 

The rainy season is now in its highest stage in Myanmar and the access to many villages are becoming extremely difficult.   Hence, BHN coordinated with the EAOs to choose villages accessible even in the middle of rainy season.

Due to such consideration, the additional installation work was accomplished by early August.

 

BHN has been employing 22 young villagers from the EAO areas and gave them on-the-job training. (They are named as “System Supporters”.)   Those young villagers are joining in the installation work teams of Contractors and worked to install & repair the solar systems.

 

To improve their working knowledge on solar electric systems BHN conducted “Follow-up Training” to the System Supporters after all the installation work is completed.   System Supporters are expected to become “Village Electricians” after all the projects are finished.

 

With the successful completion of Phase 3, BHN is now planning to start Phase 4 from Sep. 01.   The outline of Phase 4 is conceived as under:

1. In the Karen(=Kayin) villages under Karen EAOs = 5,013 solar systems

2.In the Mon villages under NMSP(New Mon State Party) = 2,313 solar systems

 

In 2018, NMSP, an EAO in Mon State ,signed the Ceasefire Agreement with the central government and, soon after the signing, requested the installation of solar systems in their villages.   Many villages under NMSP are located adjacent to the villages under KNU(Karen National Union) and they were watching the improvements of daily lives in the KNU villages after signing the ceasefire agreement and wanted the same improvements in their areas.

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Moving to the villages
Moving to the villages

In January, as the contractors were chosen to undertake the installation works of 5,200 solar systems in the EAO(Ethnic Armed Organizations) controlled areas we started the visits to villages to explain our plan to villagersin Karen & Mon States.

 

Along with this village visits engineers of BHN visited factories of equipment suppliers in Shenzhen & Ningbo , China to confirm the shipment quality. 

Basically we could confirm that the production procedure and the quality control were improving and the shipments of equipment were approved.  

 

From early April , installation works started and engineers of BHN is guiding & confirming the construction works to secure the standard working procedures.    As the rainy season is gradually starting in Myanmar we have to accelerate our construction works to finish all the works before the end of May.

 

Since the 2nd Phase we have been employing 12 villagers (as “System Supporters”) and trained them to become the electric technicians in their villages.   For this 3rd Phase BHN employed 4 additional villagers also to become System Supporters in their villages.   After training by BHN they are already joining the installation works as team members of the contractors.

 

Considering the difficulty of construction works during the rainy season BHN will complete the 3rd Phase by the middle of July and, during the rainy season, will concentrate to the planning and preparation for the 4th Phase.   Already we are receiving a substantial number of new requests of solar systems from EAOs.

Explaining our plan
Explaining our plan
Factory inspection
Factory inspection
Installation work
Installation work
Work finished
Work finished
Work finished(2)
Work finished(2)
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Signing with contractors
Signing with contractors

In the middle of last January, EAOs(Ethnic Armed Organizations), Karen State Government and BHN jointly chose, after bidding procedure, 3 contractors to undertake the installation works of 5,200 solar systems in the EAO controlled areas.  Finishing this 3rd phase, BHN will complete about 16,000 solar systems in the EAO areas.

 

Quickly after the choosing of contractors, BHN staffs started the visits to villages to explain about our project plan.

After this explanation visits are finished, BHN will invite the leaders and workers of contractors to educate & confirm the “Standard Installation Work Procedures”to prepare for the start of the installation work.

 

“Key for Success” for the solar power project is the “Education to the users”.   So far, almost all the donors of solar pawer systems just “handover” the equipment.  However, for most of the villagers, electric system is their 1st experience and, when it comes to the solar systems, they completely lack basic knowledges.    

Examples;

Solar panels should be directed to the South and 17degrees angle(in the case of Karen State), but most of the existing systems are not built in this way.

For batteries , to prevent heavy use is quite important not to cause early break-down.  For this purpose, to install “Controller” is indispensable , however, in many cases, they exclude controllers to save cost.

 

Since last year BHN employed 12 younger villagers and gave them basic education on solar systems, then, sent them to join in the installation work of the solar systems in their own EAO villages.  After the installation work is finished, they are assigned as “System Supporters” in the villages and, whenever trouble happens, they can repair solar systems in “proper method”. (In many cases improper hand -works are worsening system troubles.) 

 

Explanation meeting (1)
Explanation meeting (1)
Explanation meeting (2)
Explanation meeting (2)
Explanation meeting (3)
Explanation meeting (3)
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On the way to the villages
On the way to the villages

Although our monitoring activities suffered severely by the floods during the rainy season, we could finally complete all the installation works and following monitoring activities for the 6,138 solar systems in the houses of Kayin(Karen) & Mon States in the EAO(Ethnic Armed Organizations) areas.

Other than the above works, we also built computer training system with 12 PCs in the high-school belonging to KNU.  This computer system is used to teach students to help their future careers as well as by teachers for the improvement of the lessons.

In the 2nd Phase BHN also employed 12 younger villagers and trained them how to build & repair solar systems.  These young staffs are named as “System Supporters” and expected to work in their villages to repair systems and educate villagers how to properly use the solar systems.

Since long , we have been negotiating how to provide the same solar systems into other EAO areas and lately we came to an agreement that KNLA and DKBA to be included in the project.  Hence, in the next project (3rd Phase), BHN plans to install 5,200 solar systems into the houses in KNU, KNLA and DKBA areas .  After the tender and production procedures we are planning to start the installation works in Feb. or Mar. next year.

Although the request from the EAOs were exceeding well over 9,000 systems, we concluded in our negotiation with them to limit the number to 5,200 systems thinking of the difficulties of works during the rainy season.

In 7 months starting this Dec. we plan to finish all the installation works before the next rainy season starts.   We understand the fact that KNLA and DKBA areas were newly included is reflecting their strong wish for peace and thus improve their living environment.

 

On the way to the villages
On the way to the villages
Monitoring & educational activities(1)
Monitoring & educational activities(1)
Monitoring & educational activities(2)
Monitoring & educational activities(2)
Monitoring & educational activities(3)
Monitoring & educational activities(3)
Villagers cleaning solar panel
Villagers cleaning solar panel
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Floods in the city (1)
Floods in the city (1)

Continued rain falls in Myanmar caused floods in many districts of the country.  In the State of Karen(Kayin) where BHN has been actively working, the river Thalwin(or Salween) flooded in the middle of the city of Hpa An(state capital) and many other locations of the state.  The office of BHN scarcely escaped to get submerged under water but the activity had to be suspended for about 2 weeks.

Even after the flooding in the city is over, the access to most of our project sites were mostly impossible until around the end of August.

 

Almost all the villagers in the EAG(Ethnic Armed Group) areas were living without electricity since they were born and education to them how to use electricity (especially the specific character of solar power system) is critical for the sustainable use of the equipment.  As the installation works of the solar systems were completed by the end of May, BHN started monitoring activities in all the villages in late August but frequently hampered by remaining after-effects of the floods.

 

Basically, monitoring activities are conducted to listen to the voices of recipients and to adopt their opinions for future activities.   However, as mentioned above, for almost all the villagers, “Electricity at Home” is quite a new phenomenon in their life and repeated basic education on how to make efficient & economical use of electrical equipment under solar system is also an important mission for the monitoring teams.

 

Along with our monitoring team, engineers of the construction companies and “Solar Supporters” (selected from the villagers and joined in the construction works of the solar systems) are accompanying with BHN team and whenever necessary, they could fix at once all the troubles of the solar equipment.

Floods in the city(2)BHN office
Floods in the city(2)BHN office
Floods in the city(3)in front of the office
Floods in the city(3)in front of the office
Monitoring at home
Monitoring at home
monitoring  & repairing
monitoring & repairing
Girls dormitory after electricity(Kwee Lay high)
Girls dormitory after electricity(Kwee Lay high)
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Organization Information

BHN Association

Location: Taito-ku, Tokyo - Japan
Website:
Project Leader:
Hirofumi Aizawa
Project Manager
Taito-ku, Tokyo Japan
$2,130 raised of $15,000 goal
 
96 donations
$12,870 to go
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