Solar LEDs Brighten Rural India's Future

TreeHugger loves light emitting diodes (LEDs). A lot. We can't get enough of them, in fact, but when we read stories like this, it makes it easy to remember why we're so fond of them. Thanks to the Grameen Surya Bijli Foundation (GSBF), a Bombay-based nongovernmental organization, rural villiages all over India once immobilized by darkness can now see the light. GSBF is installed solar-powered LEDs in these poor, rural villages so children can see to study and adults don't have to do chores by the light of a cooking fire. Replacing kerosene as the primary lighting media, these LEDs can light an entire village with less energy than that used by a single conventional 100 watt light bulb. As many as 1.5 billion people - nearly 80 million in India alone - light their houses using kerosene as the primary lighting media. The fuel is dangerous, dirty, and, despite being subsidized, consumes nearly 4 percent of a typical rural Indian household's budget. Compare that to the $55 one-time installation fee (covered by GSBF) of the solar LEDs, and its easy to see how little bits of low-cost technology could help the rural poor leapfrog into the 21st century. The Indian government hopes to bring electricity to 112,000 rural villages in the next decade. via ::Christian Science Monitor