Today’s Sunday Solar PotD highlights solar power in developing countries. This shot is by hbieser on pixabay and was taken in Lesotho, a small independent kingdom of just over 2 million people that is totally surrounded by South Africa. These solar installations have been added to the traditional dwellings – rondavels or mokhoros.
The United Nations Development Program (UNDP) initiated a project to bring solar power to Lesotho.
“Only 28% of Lesotho’s population has access to electricity, and this goes down to 5% in rural areas which are often only accessible by foot or horseback. At the same time the country has ample resources in terms of renewable energy such as wind, solar and water.
To provide affordable electricity to remote villages having no access to the main electricity grid, UNDP partnered with the Government through the Renewable Energy-Based Rural Electrification Project, funded by the Global Environment Facility.
For years, electricity seemed like an impossible dream in most rural areas in Lesotho. “Life was difficult”, says Me Atang Seoa, owner of a small business in Sehong-Hong village, in the mountainous part of the country. “Customers would come after dark and the light of the candles was not enough.”
“Our village was in the darkness”, adds Mathabang Hlekiso, a mother of 5. “Sometimes we couldn’t afford to buy paraffin for the lamps. We couldn’t charge our phones, we couldn’t send urgent messages. It was difficult for the children to study”.
As a result of the capacity building through this project, about 5,000 households – around 30,000 people – gained access to affordable and renewable electricity throughout the country.
In Sehong-Hong, shop owners can now keep their shops open into the night and improve their business: “We can stay open until we are tired, and our customers see everything so much better with solar lamps,” says Me Atang.”
Many organizations are building solar
The UN is not alone in building out solar.
We wrote about Leonardo di Caprio’s investment in Kingo Energy which provides decentralized solar energy services to families and businesses in off-grid villages across the world. They use hardware and software to maximize efficiency and lower costs and are installing about 7,000 new systems each month. See their video below.
Here are a few others bringing viable and revolutionary clean electrification to remote villages and other areas in developing countries. Click on the organization name to learn more:
Sunfarmer has completed solar energy installations at 200 buildings in Nepal, used by over 100,000 people.
Energy4Impact promotes and funds activities designed to help businesses expand energy access in the form of energy-efficient cookstoves, briquettes, solar lighting and home systems, biogas and mini-grid electrification.
Power For All advances renewable, decentralized electrification solutions as the fastest, most cost-effective and sustainable approach to universal energy access.