Solar-aid: Small Solar is a Bright Idea
Behind efforts to curtail global warming, such as the EU's ambitious energy policy, lurks the fear that as the people of developing nations begin to use power at rates approaching those in the developed nations, emissions will escalate out of control. 2 billion people have no access to electricity according to Solar-aid. That is 2 billion people who need power to climb out of poverty. And Solar-aid is working to solve both problems in a single blow.
Solar-aid is a UK-registered charity that was started by the employees of Solarcentury. Solarcentury seeds the work of Solar-aid with 5% of the company's profits and they are looking to partners and donations to further their reach. Their idea is simple: relieve poverty by bringing small-scale solar installations to supply energy to rural peoples without access to power grids.Solar-aid plans to leverage existing charitable organizations and NGOs, by supporting solar installation projects which are implemented by volunteers already working with communities in need. Solar-aid's first project is based at the Kaliya Community Youth Project in Malawi which supports orphans of the HIV epidemic. After installing solar panels on the roof of the training center, Solar-aid will augment the planned training in tinsmithing, mechanics and sewing with training in the manufacture of simple solar equipment. The community can use damaged photovoltaic cell materials, which would otherwise be wasted, to produce small, portable solar chargers for phones, lights, and radios. The intention is to take an open-source approach which will allow communities to develop the products which are most beneficial for their needs and markets. Solar-aid is looking for London-based volunteers and, of course, donations.
We can only quote Solar-aid's own tag-line: "Now there's a bright idea."
Photo Credit: copyright Andy Bodycombe.