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Sunday, December 26, 2010

They're doing renewable power in remote African villages, for pity's sake

So now, word from The New York Times today that African villages in very remote villages are going very green and using renewable, solar energy for their power.


Read on:

African Huts Far From the Grid Glow With Renewable Power

KIPTUSURI, Kenya — For Sara Ruto, the desperate yearning for electricity began last year with the purchase of her first cellphone, a lifeline for receiving small money transfers, contacting relatives in the city or checking chicken prices at the nearest market.
Charging the phone was no simple matter in this farming village far from Kenya’s electric grid.
Every week, Ms. Ruto walked two miles to hire a motorcycle taxi for the three-hour ride to Mogotio, the nearest town with electricity. There, she dropped off her cellphone at a store that recharges phones for 30 cents. Yet the service was in such demand that she had to leave it behind for three full days before returning.
That wearying routine ended in February when the family sold some animals to buy a small Chinese-made solar power system for about $80. Now balanced precariously atop their tin roof, a lone solar panel provides enough electricity to charge the phone and run four bright overhead lights with switches.
As small-scale renewable energy becomes cheaper, more reliable and more efficient, it is providing the first drops of modern power to people who live far from slow-growing electricity grids and fuel pipelines in developing countries. Although dwarfed by the big renewable energy projects that many industrialized countries are embracing to rein in greenhouse gas emissions, these tiny systems are playing an epic, transformative role.

Okay, so two things need to be taken from this article, I think.

The first is that it proves we can do this, very nearly house by house, here in the States.  We don't need to--and shouldn't--wait for our big power grid corporation to go solar.  We can and should do it on, with and for our own houses, one by one.  To heck with the big energy company.

Again, from the article:  With the advent of cheap solar panels and high-efficiency LED lights, which can light a room with just 4 watts of power instead of 60, these small solar systems now deliver useful electricity at a price that even the poor can afford, he noted. “You’re seeing herders in Inner Mongolia with solar cells on top of their yurts,” Mr. Younger said.

The second take-away is that the solar panel the woman got for her African village hut was from, gulp, China.

We need to get busy, folks, right here in the good old US of A on big time solar power technology and production.

As the President pointed out many times.

As I said in an earlier post this month---we can do this.

And we must.


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