Solar Energy Industries Association members install solar power in Vanuatu after Cyclone Pam

BRIGHTENING LIVES: Solar Energy Industries Association treasurer Rob Taber with a team of solar installers on Ambae Island, Vanuatu.
BRIGHTENING LIVES: Solar Energy Industries Association treasurer Rob Taber with a team of solar installers on Ambae Island, Vanuatu.

Lights, camera and a call to action is the theme for this Friday’s premiere of The Storm that Time Forgot at the TAS Hoskins Centre.

The short film documents Australian solar energy installers working to restore power to communities in cyclone-ravaged Vanuatu after the country was devastated in 2015.

Solar Energy Industries Association treasurer Rob Taber, who travelled to Vanuatu as part of the installation team, said the project was changing the lives for some of the world's poorest people.

“They already had nothing to begin with but the cyclone just mode it worse,” he said.

“They have no power, no clean water - at one school, they run a generator for 2 hours each day, but that’s all they can afford.

The association has visited Vanuatu twice since Cyclone Pam and installed solar systems at four schools on two islands.

On the second trip, Mr Taber’s grandson Nick filmed the group's work and created the documentary to be aired on Friday. 

And while the installers have donated much of the infrastructure, more money is needed for them to continue their work.

“We already have about 100 solar panels over there and 700 more waiting to send” Mr Taber said.

“All the installers donate their time and buy their own airfares.

“We need the donations for the shipping costs and to buy little bits and pieces like wiring to bring it all together.”  

BackTrack is also giving a dog jumping show before the screening.

“We’ve got BackTrack performing with their dogs, and we also have the Vanuatu workings from Guyra coming to sing for everyone,” Mr Taber said.

“There will also be food and drinks supplied throughout the evening as part of the ticket price.”

The event starts at 4pm, Friday, May 19 at the TAS Hoskins Centre.


Tickets are $45 for adults and $35 for concessions, pensioners and children under 15, with all proceeds going to fund ongoing projects in Vanuatu.   

“It’s a great project and these people really need our help,” Mr Taber said.