In August, a team from Fundación Pachamama traveled into Ecuador’s Pastaza region near the border of Peru, to collaborate with the Achuar to install the first solar panels for Tiinkias Ecolodge.
Tiinkias Ecolodge was first started as an initiative less than 3 years ago, and is a successful economic alternative to resource extraction for the seven Achuar communities that run the lodge.
Given the extremely secluded location, it is important to implement sustainable sources of energy that can be maintained by the Achuar, and are not dependent on fossil fuels. And with over 2,000 hours of sunshine a year, solar-powered energy is an excellent alternative.
Installing Solar Panels, Step-by-step
Here, the men are clearing some of the dirt and clay to use as filler for the new solar-panel site.
After building the main frames for the solar panels, Achuar community members are digging the trenches for the electrical lines that will feed the Tiinkias Ecolodge’s various energy needs. The solar panels are being installed a short distance away from the community.
Some of the Achuar community that run the lodge are cutting the frames for a total of four solar panels. These solar panels, seen above, will provide enough power to run lights in the bathrooms, kitchen area and at the hotel entrance, and will charge outlets commonly used for cameras, headlamps, and computers. Way to go!
The smallest volunteer climbed up to nail the frame of the roof where the solar panels will be placed.
Setting the second solar panel…
Two down, two to go.
And they’re setting the fourth and final solar panel for the weekend. This minga (community-based work) project also offered the Achuar the opportunity to build their skill sets in the areas of carpentry, electrical work, and maintenance/repair of solar panels.
The solar panels are installed and generate electricity immediately.
The finished product!
An Important Step Towards Sustainable Tourism
This project was coordinated by Ruben Shakai, president of Makusar Association, which comprises the seven Achuar communities who collectively run the Tiinkias Ecolodge. The panels were donated by the solar company Centrosolar.
These solar panels are an important step in fulfilling the Achuar people’s vision for sustainable tourism at Tiinkias, which also includes sustainable practices such as dry toilets, traditional artesania and crafts, and local employment.