Category: business owner

The village of Entasopia is five hours from Nairobi and, like two-thirds of Kenya’s population, does not have access to the national power grid. But a solar microgrid in the village connects houses and businesses to central PV panels by underground cable, providing power more cheaply than diesel or kerosene. Bar owner Peter Okoth says he now has 11 light bulbs and enough power to run a TV and sound system. His profits will soon buy a refrigerator. Nancy Kaisa…

— Prashant Mandal, who lives in Madhotanda in northern India’s Uttar Pradesh state. About 20 million households in Uttar Pradesh lack electricity. For those on the grid, power is often only available only a few hours a day. Solar kits like the one Mandal leases from SimpaNetworks provide reliable power for two LED lights and a fan. Before solar kits were available for lease, Mandal said he had to carry a battery a kilometer back and forth to recharge it…

Throughout Africa from Ivory Coast to Morocco to Kenya, major solar projects are sprouting, each helping provide access to the 600 million Africans who lack access to energy. “Energy is a major issue for the African continent, because someone who does not have access to energy cannot have access to health, telecommunications, or education,” said industry executive Alexandre Castel. While the solutions all contribute to a singular goal, leaders are not pursuing a one-size-fits-all approach. While Benin is banking on 100 small renewable…

—Tonny Okello Japser, a resident of Olil village in Kole district, Uganda. Japser opened a salon in 2010 to augment his income from farming, but quickly realized it was costly to operate his new business using a petroleum-powered generator. In 2013, he invested in a solar panel instead. Now, customers flock to his salon for haircuts and also tap into his solar energy to charge their cellphones. His two jobs, amplified by savings from going solar, allow him to comfortably…

— Seydou Coulibaly, a shopkeeper in Sirakorola in southwestern Mali. “Before, when the darkness set in, I closed my shop,” explains Coulibaly in this story by author Christophe Assogba. “But now I sell late into the night and my business has grown.” VIA SCIDEVNET