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Solar Energy and Sustainability
Frank Gnanam, Regional Business Manager  - Rural Infrastructure, BP Solar, Australia

The solar business has come a long way from being a technology developed for space applications.  We have come down to earth and solar technology is now installed throughout the world on commercial buildings, homes and even petrol stations, which are connected to the electricity grid.   Solar is an integral part of the rural development of nations throughout Asia and the Pacific.  Solar is important for the re-development of East Timor.

Solar provides a unique benefit - clean energy at the point of demand.   It has no emissions or noise, requires no fuelling and minimal service and maintenance.   Solar systems are modular in construction and are infinitely scaleable.   They are stand-alone systems, independent of the electricity grid.  

BP Solar's experience in rural development projects demonstrates that solar is truly a life-changing tool.  Rather than a source of electricity, we think of solar as enabling technology delivering clean water to communities, improving health facilities to remote locations and providing educational tools to rural schools.

No matter where you are in the world, everyone requires clean water, health facilities and education.  These basic human needs are a prerequisite for development.

Currently in Malaysia, we are involved in a long term partnership with the Malaysian Government to deploy thousands of solar systems for rural homes and health clinics.  This six year Project has dramatically improved the health, well-being and social standard of living of the affected rural communities.  

In the Philippines we provided a wide variety of solar systems to island communities.   By pumping clean water into the villages, families saved hours of walking each day to collect water from the nearest river.  Health services and facilities were improved by providing vaccine fridges and power for the rural health centres or hospitals.  School attendances increased by 300% when the government's daily educational programs were shown on solar powered TV & video systems which were provided to the rural schools.

As a picture tells a thousand words, I'd like to screen a short video to show you some of these systems and you can judge for yourself whether solar is appropriate for East Timor.

In conclusion, my friends, BP Solar is here to play an important role in the re-construction of East Timor, IF you will allow us to.  All we ask of you today is that favourable consideration is given to the appropriateness of solar technology for East Timor.