Solar Aid – Bringing Clean Power To The Poor

Imagine a world where everyone has access to clean, affordable renewable power. Over two billion people have no access to electricity and rely on burning fossil fuels such as kerosene for light; generating highly toxic fumes and large amounts of greenhouse gases. The average kerosene lamp, used widely across the developing world, creates around a tonne of carbon over seven years.
 
Solar power has the potential to enrich these people’s lives, not only through providing a cleaner and over the long term a cheaper power source, but also as an income generation opportunity.
 
That’s where Solar Aid comes in. The organization’s vision is to make solar energy as widely available as possible to the poorest people in developing countries. The group was founded by Dr Jeremy Leggett, who had previously worked in the oil industry in the 1980s and then became Chief Scientist at Greenpeace in the late 1980s when he became aware of the threat of climate change. Australian performer Cate Blanchett is also involved as Patron of Solar Aid.
 
Solar Aid trains local communities in how to build small scale solar powered appliances such as solar powered radios and lanterns and installs small solar systems for community centres, medical clinics and schools. Some of the group’s current projects include:
 
Zambia: The installation solar power systems on schools, clinics and community centres and training locals to start businesses selling solar chargers for small appliances.
 
Argentina: Introducing solar power to remote communities and employing local people to perform and maintain installations.
 
Malawi: Clean, affordable solar lighting for rural homes.
 
Tanzania: Creating jobs and bring solar power to local communities and school children.
 
The projects are financed through the generous donations from individuals and businesses around the world. 
  
One of  Solar Aid‘s newest projects is SunnyMoney. Donors can sponsor an entrepreneur in a developing country for a year to help them buy equipment to build and repair small solar products that are then sold and used in local communities. 
  
In a world where the greenhouse gas emissions of rich countries will have the biggest impact on the poor through climate change, Solar Aid seeks not only to improve the lives of people in developing countries and to help them cope with the challenges ahead, but also to assist them in playing a role in reducing their own greenhouse gas emissions.