Awango in Indonesia: Bridging the Gap, Bringing the Light
Today, our electification ratio is 80.54%, which means around 20% of Indonesian populations are still living without access to electricity. On the other hand, solar power is still very much underused as an alternative energy resource in Indonesia. Total’s Awango provides a perfect vehicle to narrow the gap with solar power lamps.
Bringing Lights to Remote Areas
TATS (Total Access To Solar) Indonesia was established to confirm Total’s commitment to better energy. With a goal of bringing lights to many homes in remote areas of Indonesia, TATS Indonesia selected East Java Province as a pilot project location, with focus in Jember areas. Two main reasons for selecting the province: First, East Java has the lowest electrification ratio in Java; Second, East Java is still logistically accessible.
As a wholeseller and importer, TATS Indonesia needs distributors and resellers to market its products. They are the spearheads to reach people in remote areas and provide them with safe, affordable and renewable energy. There are currently five types of solar lamps sold in the market. They range from a small emergency lamp to an Ulitium solar lamp package that can be used to power up to four lamps and to charge mobile phones. Since the cost of the solar lamps is higher than that of kerosene fueled, some distributors offer potential customers to purchase them in installments. In May 2015, the Indonesian subsidiary of TATS Paris has sold more than 40,000 lamps enjoyed by around 195,000 people from Aceh to Papua.
Shifting Paradigms and Educating People
As a new venture bringing fresh ideas, the implementation of the Awango project in Indonesia faces many challenges. First, the human resources for the project; despite its small number of people, the TATS Indonesia team has a target of selling 27,000 lamps per year. Second, shifting public’s paradigm; many Indonesians prefer to pay a small amount of money for their energy consumption. That’s why they prefer to buy kerosene fueled lamps, which cost less compared to solar lamps. What they don’t take into account is that, although they spend less money on the lamp, they spend more on the kerosene. People also tend to ignore the fact that the costly kerosene is much less environmentally friendly, while the abundant solar power is free and harmless to the planet.
There is an Indonesian saying “tak kenal maka tak sayang”, which means “you can’t love what you don’t know.” When people start using solar lamps for emergency or daily use, there will be a shift not only in their behavior but also their perspective. Educating people and raising public awareness of the benefit of solar energy is therefore the more sustainable way to get people on board the solar energy train and help them use a better energy.
Getting More on Board
At present, TATS Indonesia is aiming to expand its market to other groups of potential customers. The company would like to broaden the use of renewable energy not only to people without access to electricity who live in remote areas, but also to those who already enjoy electricity on a daily basis, especially the urban middle class. “We would like to ride on the current wave of environmental awareness campaigns, such as Go Green, Save Energy, and Earth Hour,” said Joedo Koesoemo, the Director of TATS Indonesia. “By increasing public awareness on environmental issues, we can throw one stone and kill two birds. This is our little contribution to make our planet a better and more sustainable place to live in.”
In order to reach these new potential customers, TATS Indonesia is approaching modern markets and retail chains to sell its products, such as Depo Bangunan and Mitra 10. These chain stores are located in big cities. The company is concluding an agreement with Pertamina and our sister company Total Oil Indonesia to sell solar lamps in their respective gas station stores. We expect to have an agreement with Bonjour signed in early June,” Joedo confirmed. If everything goes as planned, customers could expect to find solar lamps on display at these stores by the end of June. So, the next time you go Bonjour, do not forget to pick up your solar lamp and make your own contribution to saving our planet.