Future is here with Solar computers made available for rural users
THE lack of access to computers in rural communities has forced a local entrepreneur to invest in providing cheap and accessible solar powered computers to those interested.
Local Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Company, Inoovate Tech Solutions might be new to the scene, but a genuine concern for education institutions accessing ICT equipment has led to 46-year-old Philip Luluku tapping into the latest solar technology on the market.
Mr Luluku was a teacher and senior IT officer with the Woodford International School in Honiara, prior to that he had extensive work experience with other commercial IT companies.
He said the lack of access to computers in rural Solomon Islands is one of the reasons he decided to undertake his business initiative.
There is also the high cost associated in purchasing IT equipment such as computers for schools in the country.
“As someone who has worked in an advanced education institution such as Woodford, I have seen the importance of computers as a learning tool.
“A tool that every child should have access to.
“So, with that in mind I decided that any investment I do in my field of work should be one that helps provide the cheapest, affordable and quality equipment students can use,” Luluku explained.
With the financial support of his wife, Luluku started the company in October 2021. He rented a room at the HM Long building and moved in around late November.
His dream, however, was shattered as the November 2021 riots resulted in the building being burnt and all the infrastructure within his office space gone.
Four months on, he has bounced back and has opened a new office space upstairs of the CDL Vast building at Ranadi, East Honiara.
The most prized product sold at his shop is the NIWA brand, Solar computer. The computer is German design, produced in Hong Kong. It was only made available in the market around 2020.
The computers can be operated using 80watts and 50 watts solar energy. Luluku said the computers are ideal for rural schools, churches, NGOs and even individuals.
“It can be used up to eight hours when not charged,” he added.
Access to electricity in the Solomon Islands is very low. According to a recent ADB report, grid-connected electricity is only supplied to 12 percent of the population.
Luluku said even if electricity is available, it is quite expensive, hence having solar computers could assist in cutting down costs.
The budding entrepreneur lamented that in the age of the pandemic, a lot of time is being wasted on education with all the lock-downs and delay.
“During my time at Woodford I assisted in creating online learning for our students.
He said the country does not have the capacity to create similar arrangement for other schools, hence investment in Solar ICT equipment is a step forward.
He explained that the Solar computers at his shop are cheap and easy for students to access.
“The price of laptops and IT gadgets are very expensive in Honiara and we are trying to minimise our profit to give students a chance to own laptops or tablets for their learning,” he added.
Apart from Solar computers, the company also does sales and repairs, cabling, printing, ID and passport photo.