A massive countrywide power blackout forces the entire population of the United Kingdom to make it through a whole day without electricity. Hard to imagine, isn’t it? Consider that 21 times that many people – more than 1.3 billion, in mostly developing countries – go through life every day without access to electricity and the basic necessities it provides, such as lighting for their village’s school, or power for operating rudimentary devices in the local health clinic. One of the most realistic means of bringing electricity to the people who need it is off-grid solar. Whether as a standalone system for a single building, or as a “mini-grid” for an entire village, off-grid solar is often the best solution because those without electricity are mostly the rural poor, far from any possible connection to the grid, yet living in areas with abundant sunshine, like South Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa.
But there are many other reasons why off-grid solar for developing countries makes good sense. Off-grid systems are:
- Relatively simple and quick to install
- Independent of unreliable electric grids
- Relatively easy to operate and maintain
- Independent of fluctuating or increasing fossil fuel prices
- Clean, with no emissions compared to the wood and dirty fossil fuels typically used by the rural poor
- Scalable and flexible – if demand increases, more can easily be added
What about the cost of solar? Fortunately, grid parity – that point at which the cost of solar becomes competitive with the cost of power from the grid – has been reached in many developing countries. According to the International Energy Agency, this is particularly the case in mostly rural countries, where off-grid solar is now considered “extremely competitive” with traditional diesel fuel.
The only remaining bottleneck to bringing off-grid solar to the millions of global poor is financing. While international organizations such as the World Bank continue to provide funding for solar energy projects in developing countries, more help is needed. In fact, the World Bank itself says that the number of people without access to electricity may actually increase in the coming decades unless off-grid solutions are prioritized.
This is where SunFarmer enters the picture. We’re a nonprofit providing funding for off-grid solar energy solutions for the people who need it. Ninety-five percent (95%) of your donation goes directly to pay for solar installations for hospitals, schools, and other critical institutions in developing areas.
With your help, SunFarmer will provide the solution, so that those who will live today without electricity can live with it tomorrow.