In many rural areas of the world, there is no electricity – which also means there is no clean drinking water, no access to information, education or modern forms of communication. For five years exactly now, SolarWorld AG has been trying to remedy this situation, in a few cases at least, with its SolarWorld initiative. The positive outcome: It was possible to implement more than 80 solar projects, together with partners from development aid organizations in many countries of Africa and South America.
In total, SolarWorld supplied off-grid solar power systems with an overall capacity of around 450 kilowatts to aid projects in emerging and developing countries. Together with associations, church groups and development organizations, SolarWorld AG provided solar panels and complete systems for hospitals, wells and water treatment plants, schools, streetlighting, training centers as well as nature reserves.
The program focuses on Africa. “Africa is the poorest continent with the lowest electrification rate. The Solar2World program creates solar beacons which show how great the benefits are for development, health and quality of life of supplying off-grid areas with solar power,” says Dr.-Ing. E. h. Frank Asbeck, CEO of SolarWorld AG.
With every project, locals are trained in the use and maintenance of solar power systems in order to achieve a transfer of knowledge and to secure the sustainability of the project. Vocational schools in Kenya, South Africa, Senegal, Niger, Benin, Ethiopia and Rwanda, where solar technicians are urgently needed, were equipped with the systems.
An excellent example of this is the program in Fissel, Senegal: Lack of water in a community of over 35,000 inhabitants living in 28 villages poses a real threat to survival. SolarWorld is supporting a project initiated by Rotary International, which simultaneously seeks to tackle water shortage, malnutrition and poverty. 70 SolarWorld panels operate a water pump, which provides clean drinking water and water for the cultivation of vegetables, run as a cooperative, all year round. People’s diets have improved significantly with the homegrown vegetables. At the same time, this provides an additional source of income for around 500 people, since the women can sell the vegetables on the market.
SolarWorld AG has supplied Haiti, which is prone to earthquakes and underdevelopment, with solar power systems with a total capacity of 100 kilowatts for hospitals and drinking water supply. Next year, the number of Solar2World projects is going to exceed the 100 mark. Twenty Solar2World projects are being implemented, with a further 20 planned. The first project to be launched in December 2007, in South Africa, was the installation of a solar-powered water pump. Today, it is still in operation in the Komsberg Wilderness Nature Reserve.