The Boa Vista Solar Project was implemented in 2016 at two villages, Boa Vista and Bari, in the indigenous Kaxinawá municipality of Jordão in the Acre region of Brazil. Solar systems are now widely regarded as the most cost-effective and efficient way to provide energy access to isolated communities. The objective of this project was to provide lighting to 100% of all village dwellings in Boa Vista and to begin a similar installation process at the neighbouring village of Bari.
The project itself was conceived by the leadership of the village of Boa Vista, represented by Txana Ikakuru and communicated to Deep Forest Foundation representatives via APOTI (Assocação Povos da Terra). Boa Vista already had a small scale rudimentary solar installation built in April 2015, from the proceeds of a Huni Kuin video game development project Huni Kuin: Yube Baitana, an educational tool to teach others about indigenous ways and traditions. The aim of the Boa Vista Solar Project was to upgrade, enlarge and extend the life span of this installation in order to provide illumination to all buildings in the village, including those across the river.
Project planning began in May 2016. The ordering and shipment of all necessary equipment is always a detailed and challenging process when working with remote villages, and the installation work at Boa Vista only started in early October 2016. The job took approximately two weeks. We used high grade equipment which included 315W Canadian Solar panels, and Freedom DF stationary batteries. One panel was damaged in transit, no doubt as a consequence of multiple handing from Minas Gerais by road to Tarauacá then by air to Jordão and finally by boat to Boa Vista. Fortunately the panel was still useable but it does illustrate the risks of operating in areas with minimal technical support and a lengthy supply chain.
Prior to our arrival in October the local leadership had arranged for the construction of a new wooden building intended as the central cultural centre as well as a storage facility for part of the solar equipment.
The project was divided into three stages: Upgrade of the existing installation, Expansion to provide complete coverage, and the Extension to include dwellings across the river. All wiring and lamps were replaced and 4 new 315W Canadian Solar panels plus 8 new 240Ah batteries installed to complement the 3 existing 136W panels and 3 105Ah batteries from the previous installation. Boa Vista now has a new robust and fully integrated system in place, adequate to meet the current and future needs of the village.
The second-hand cables and wires that were removed from the old installation were taken to the village of Bari. In addition we installed 2 new Canadian Solar panels and 4 new batteries so that Bari now has partial lighting coverage as well as a cultural centre with the facility to recharge electronic equipment. The installation was successful and completely transformational for a community of people who until this point had had no external source of light and power generation.
We have since noted that the project has in fact benefited a much wider community as people from nearby villages are now coming to Boa Vista and Bari to recharge electronic equipment, and Boa Vista itself is now in a position to host much bigger indigenous events and festivals than was previously the case.
A second phase for the Boa Vista Solar Project is now in the pipeline to provide complete solar coverage for the village of Bari as well as the installation of a solar pump for a planned artesian well in Boa Vista.