Empowering Fisherfolks in Bungin Island Through Sustainable Energy Innovation

Bungin Island is one of the most populous islands where the majority of the people work as fisherfolk.  A team of lecturers from Universitas Teknologi Sumbawa (UTS) formed a campus-owned company, Olat Maras Power, to help fisherfolks in the area can access affordable solar-powered cold storage units.

The business started in 2020 and is based in the university facility, “The potential of solar energy in Sumbawa is very promising, therefore it would be best if we can utilize it,” said the Director of EV Product of Olat Maras Power, Ahmad Jaya, when met at the Olat Maras Power production workshop on Friday (05/08/2022).

With the help of New Energy Nexus Indonesia, Olat Maras Power has successfully created a Cold Storage Unit named NgebuUTS, a cold storage unit powered by solar, battery, and the state’s electricity company. At first, the Cold Storage Unit is exclusively made to help the fisherfolks in Sumbawa Regency, especially those who live at Bungin Island.

There is a rooted belief that they cannot go fishing on certain days. It sometimes causes issues as the fish that they have collected on previous days would rot if not stored properly. With NgebUTS, Olat Maras Power hopes the Cold Storage Unit could cut the production cost by making the fish stay fresh longer for days.

As the business expanded, Olat Maras Power faced challenges to produce more Cold Storage Units due to expensive raw materials. Because of that, Olat Maras Power is seeking collaborations and a business acceleration program to support the business growth to ensure fisherfolks can get quality Cold Storage Units, NgebUTS at an affordable price.

“In West Nusa Tenggara, we committed to supporting green initiatives. Including innovation from the Olat Maras Power team,” said the governor of West Nusa Tenggara, Dr. H. Zulkieflimansyah, S.E., M.Sc showing the government’s support to the business. The government is also buying the units as well as helping the research and development of Olat Maras Power.

Just like its name, Olat Maras means ‘hill of happiness’ in the Sumbawa language. “We hope Olat Maras can innovate and help fisherfolks, give happiness to all not only in Sumbawa but also in Indonesia,” Ahmad said.

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