Harvesting Sunshine: Ms. Nop Kolap's Solar-Power Journey in Pursat Province, Cambodia

Published: Jan 25, 2024 Reading time: 3 minutes
Ms. Nop Kolap showcasing her cultivated green beans from her farm
© Foto: PIN Cambodia

Adopting clean energy contributes immensely to the fight against climate change. A large portion of the greenhouse gases that blanket the Earth and trap the Sun's heat are generated by human activity. As the world transitions towards just and clean energy, we must ensure that everyone has access to this resource. Equitable clean energy access will drive sustainable development for countries globally. Thus, providing access to and knowledge of clean energy is one of our main areas of focus.

Meet Ms. Nop Kolap, a farmer from the Veal Veng District in Pursat Province. Ms Kolap has embraced solar technology and become a keen advocate for its adoption in her community. She proudly owns a 2-hectare farm where she cultivates a variety of crops, including cucumbers, tomatoes, green beans and papayas. Let her recount her transition from traditional energy sources to the embrace of sustainable solar technology.

"My farm relied on generators for power. However, in 2023, my farm was chosen as a demo site for the SWITCH to Solar project. This was the first time I was introduced to the solar water pump," Ms. Kolap shares.

Exposure to SWITCH to Solar marked the beginning of a transformative period for her farm. The solar water pump, a cutting-edge solar technology, replaced the traditional generators. This technology offered Ms. Kolap a more reliable and eco-friendly energy source for irrigation and other farming necessities.

"I learned about this technology from the SWITCH to Solar team when they visited my house to explain its advantages and disadvantages. I tried using it in 2023, and it was beneficial and easy for me," Ms. Kolap adds.
Harvesting Success with Solar: Benefits Beyond Imagination

Since adopting solar technology, Ms. Kolap has experienced positive changes in her farming operations. The consistent and reliable energy supply for irrigation has led to an increase in crop yield, resulting in higher sales during the harvest season. Her profit averages $1,000 per month and increases during harvest season. 

"Using solar technology offers me numerous benefits, including cost savings, improved water management, environmental sustainability, and a reliable energy supply," Ms. Kolap emphasises. "Diesel generators cause much damage, are much more expensive, and often pump insufficiently."

The reduction in maintenance costs and time spent on energy systems is of great benefit to Ms. Kolap. Solar technology is both financially beneficial and environmentally friendly, thus contributing immensely to the financial and environmental sustainability of Ms. Kolap's farm.

Community Impact and Advocacy: From Skepticism to Gratitude

Ms. Kolap is both a beneficiary and an ardent advocate of solar technology in her community. Initially sceptical, community members were hesitant about adopting solar due to misconceptions about its convenience and efficiency. However, with education and experience, perspectives shifted.

"We are thankful for the SWITCH to Solar project, which has helped our community. At first, we were not interested in solar because we were unaware of its convenience and efficiency," Ms. Kolap reflects. "Learning more about the benefits of solar, our community reconsidered, and we can now see how helpful it has been.

Encouraged by Ms. Kolap's success, many of her peers and neighbours have made the switch to solar technology. The positive ripple effect has not only improved individual livelihoods but has also contributed to a sustainable and resilient community.

Ms. Nop Kolap's transition from traditional farming methods to embracing solar technology serves as an inspiration for local communities in Pursat province. Her success underscores the tangible benefits of sustainable practices in agriculture. It also highlights the transformative impact of sustainability on individual lives and entire communities. 

Today, we are reminded that each small switch to clean energy carries immense potential to combat climate change and build resilient societies. Let this story inspire us all to explore innovative solutions, adopt sustainable practices, and collectively work towards a greener future.

The European Union funds the SWITCH to Solar project through the SWITCH Asia Programme and the Government of the Czech Republic through the Czech Development Agency. The project is co-implemented with People in Need Cambodia, EnergyLab, and Sevea. 

Autor: Johanna Legarta, Communications Manager

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