Driving Solar Energy Development through Gerilya

Jakarta, 1 March 2023 – The energy transition requires the participation of all parties to make it happen. The education sector is predicted to be one of the strategic pillars to ensure that there are high quality experts and technicians who are ready to take part in the realm of renewable energy development.

Secretary General of the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Rida Mulyana reminded the importance of energy transition and the use of solar energy.

“Currently, our electricity is 86% coming from fossil energy, and one day it will run out. With the energy transition, we want the quality of national energy security to increase, no longer depending on fossil energy. We have renewable energy sources, and they are abundant. This means that if we want the transition from fossil to non-fossil, the sources already exist,” said Rida at the launch of the Gerilya program, Wednesday, March 1, 2023.

Rida also added that the second urgent reason is global pressure on climate change mitigation. Weather is hard to predict, even in a tropical country like Indonesia. That is, because of global warming, due to the increasing amount of GHG emissions which then makes the earth’s temperature rise, not only does sea level rise, but the weather is also unpredictable, and that is already happening.

The Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources specifically formed GERILYA (Solar Electricity Initiative Movement) as part of the Certified Independent Study and Internship Program (MSIB) as a result of the collaboration between the Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources and Merdeka Belajar Kampus Merdeka, Ministry of Education and Culture-Research and Technology

In the GERIYA program, students are placed in various institutions and companies engaged in various aspects of solar energy development. In his remarks on the same occasion, Director of Various Energy and EBT, Ministry of Energy and Mineral Resources, Andriyah Feby Misna stated that energy transition efforts in Indonesia need to be balanced with the availability of competent and qualified human resources.

“For this reason, the Gerilya program continues to improve itself by improving the solar energy curriculum and re-joining the fourth batch of MSIB,” explained Feby.

The intended curriculum improvement includes, among other things, the background of the participants, which initially only came from STEM majors, but now students majoring in social and humanities can join them. The time for students to be involved in projects was also extended to four months and the briefing time was shortened to one month.

A total of 2,456 applicants from 280 universities throughout Indonesia were selected, with the result that 62 students from 34 universities were declared to have passed the GERILYA selection stage. Of the number of students who passed the selection stage, 24 people or 38% of them were women. This is a form of commitment to gender equality in the implementation of the MSIB Gerilya Batch 4 program.


The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) has supported the Gerilya program since its first batch and provided a place for students to learn about policy changes related to solar energy development from the perspective of civil society through scientific studies. In batch 4, IESR will host four Gerilya students.

Tracking the Advancements of Indonesia’s Electric Vehicle Battery Industry

Over the present decade, the popularity of electric vehicles (EVs) has witnessed a significant increase with year-over-year sales showing exponential growth. According to reports from Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), there are already almost 20 million EVs on the road until the end of 2021. To enhance energy efficiency, ensure tailpipe emission reduction, and decrease reliance on oil fuels, EVs have become an attractive choice for both stakeholders and the general public. Taking into account the prevailing trend and several additional benefits, Indonesia, being the largest nickel reserves country, through President Regulation 55/2019 regarding the BEV acceleration program, has taken proactive measures to participate in the global EV industry, particularly in the battery sector. Following this regulation, the Ministry of Industry was established outlining the industry roadmap and local content requirements (LCR) through Ministerial Regulation 20/2020.

As of 2023, the weighting of the Local Content Requirement (LCR) in the Indonesian electric vehicle (EV) industry has adjusted. The assessment of the assembly process, previously at 20%, has been reduced to 12%, with the remaining 8% being reallocated to the calculation of the main components, including the battery (35%), electric motor (12%), and chassis (11%). The importance of LCR in Indonesia is relevant in the context of supplying for government procurement or projects. In support of the growth of the domestic EV industry and attracting investment, the Indonesian government has implemented various initiatives, including the President Instruction 7/2022 for public procurement and subsidies plan for the purchase of LCR-compliant electric vehicles.

The weight of batteries in electric vehicle (EV) industries highlights the importance of utilizing domestically produced batteries for improving the overall LCR. The current state of the battery industry, however, poses challenges for mass production. The Institute for Essential Services Reform (IESR) team sought to understand the gap in technological capabilities within the domestic battery industry. To achieve this objective, the team conducted exclusive interviews across the upstream, midstream, and downstream sectors of the industry. The purpose of these interviews was to evaluate the industry’s preparedness in meeting both government targets and the demands of the EV market. The comprehensive assessment aimed to gain a thorough understanding of the domestic battery industry.

Battery EV production flow

Upstream sector industries

The upstream sector in Indonesia’s EV industry is rapidly growing, ready to meet market demands. The government has reinforced this growth with MEMR Regulation 11/2019, which governs mineral and coal mining and bans nickel ore exports. Despite the controversy, the regulation has led to the construction of two HPAL nickel refineries and 5 more are in the works. According to the Indonesia Nickel Miners Association, there is yearly demand for 50.57 million tons of saprolite and 1.2 million tons of limonite ore for the HPAL plants, expected to produce nearly 1 million MHP/MSP and 316,000 tons of derivative products including 140,000 tons of Cr concentrate, 136,000 tons of Nickel Sulfate, and 19.5 tons of Cobalt Sulfate. One developer has even introduced its refining technology, the Step Temperature Acid Leaching (STAL) process, designed to refine limonite ore with a nickel content of less than 1.6%, yielding MHP as the final product at its prototype plant.

Midstream sector industries

The lithium-based battery sector has seen slow growth due to high investment needs and limited experience. Aside from three major investment plans for battery production (IBC-LG, IBC-CBL, and Indika-Foxconn) that are underway, IESR has gathered information on existing and growing companies. These companies have production capacity for battery cells, ranging from 30 to 1 thousand cells per day. An interesting development is a start-up from Universitas Sebelas Maret that has a partnership with another start-up from the same university for active material and precursor production.

To align with NCM or NCA nickel-based cathodes, the upstream sector’s battery precursor production process needs to be continued domestically. However, local battery companies use LFP for their business due to safety and long life-cycle considerations, even though it has lower energy density compared to nickel-based options. As a result, class 1 nickel production in Indonesia’s upstream sector is not yet sufficient to meet the needs of the cathode or battery cell industry within the country.

Downstream sector

As one of the world’s largest producers of motorcycles, Indonesia has no major obstacles in assembling EVs. The frame or chassis is the most established component to be produced domestically. Meanwhile, some companies have produced electric motors (powertrains) and supplied E2W production for state-owned enterprises.

However, the recycling or reuse of battery cell waste for second-life batteries is yet to be fully developed. But, researchers at Universitas Gadjah Mada have taken the initiative by starting the development at a laboratory scale. Despite limited EV usage in the country, this sector is expected to be promising due to its potential to extract rare materials like lithium and easy access to metals required for battery production.