Solar photovoltaics, or the solar panels that transform sunlight to power, are becoming increasingly popular as they become more inexpensive around the world. Solar panel systems in Indonesia have dropped in price by 90% to roughly US$900 to US$1,200 for every kWp (kilowatt peak).
Indonesia must grab this opportunity and make solar power systems a priority in its most rural and underdeveloped areas. According to research, this technique can significantly improve livelihood and economic activity in those places. In the last five years, Indonesia’s solar power capacity has increased by 250 percent. Capacity increased from 43.1 megawatts (MW) in the year 2016 to 153.5MW in 2020.
By 2030, the government intends to boost this capacity by 14 times, to 2.14 gigawatts (GW). In contrast, five Indonesian provinces, Maluku, Papua, Central Kalimantan, Southeast Sulawesi, and East Nusa Tenggara, had an electrification rate of less than 95 percent in 2020.
Solar power production is not only a critical tool for accelerating the transition to renewable energy, but it is also a necessity for the government to consider. It’s also a strategy to ensure that all regions have access to power, especially distant and impoverished places and villages in Indonesia’s far reaches.
To enhance the national electrification ratio, energy-saving solar-fueled lamps (LTSHEs) have been provided to these locations since 2017. These LTSHEs, on the other hand, only give restricted lighting for up to about 6-8 hours every day. Electrification should be about more than just providing light. It entails ensuring that communities can rely on electricity for a variety of useful purposes, such as education and agriculture.
The solar irradiance intensity in Indonesia fluctuates from 3.6kWh to about 6kWh for every square meter per day, indicating the amount of energy which a specific region might potentially get from sunlight. Solar energy generation is excellent for off-grid places or where connection to the power grid is costly and unfeasible due to the abundance of sunlight. Unlike urban regions with access to energy, solar panels might make a significant difference for populations in distant and underserved places.
Off-grid electrification using solar panels has advanced decarbonization in nations like Nepal and India by decreasing kerosene use. They’ve also enhanced children’s education and raised incomes in several areas. However, distributing solar electricity in remote areas has several obstacles. To begin with, off-grid solar power systems necessitate more sophisticated technology than on-grid solar power systems. To store energy, off-grid solutions require many types of batteries. Inverters are also required to transform the electricity generated by the batteries for usage in household appliances.
These additional criteria can increase the cost of the off-grid system by up to three times, making it unattractive to investors. These batteries and technologies need to be maintained, monitored, evaluated, and eventually replaced, which could be difficult for local communities to manage.