In Tanzania, Fighting Poverty with Solar Power
In Tanzania, solar sales are booming. Roughly 86 percent of Tanzanians are without electricity, many living in rural villages situated miles away from the nearest electricity grid. The traditional reliance on charcoal, wood, and other biomass fuels leave villagers fettered to high costs and exposure to indoor air pollution, which kills more than 4 million people every year. Despite only a minuscule amount of capital going toward African clean tech, thousands of Tanzanians are beginning to invest out of pocket in small scale solar – from tiny flashlights like d.light to larger rooftop panel systems – and the boom isn’t just turning on the lights.
Design and technological improvements over the last several years have brought costs of solar down to a point where panels are increasingly being snapped up by rural people desperate for basic household lighting, said Shari Berenbach, president of the U.S. African Development Foundation, a federal agency that supports African entrepreneurs. The boom is empowering a new generation of homegrown creative entrepreneurship and opening up new economic opportunities for rural Africa.
Click here to read more about Tanzania’s small scale solar revolution, online at Grist.org.