A small village in rural Tanzania has been outfitted with solar panels and lighting equipment as part of an initiative conducted by the Mashaka Foundation and American Engineering Group. The benefits of the lighting were immediate and profound, as this article from Tanzania's Daily News demonstrates:
[...] Local residents say the solar power light has among other things helped to chase away hyenas that have been disturbing and putting their lives in danger for years. “In the past we used to go to bed as early as 6:pm (1800 hours) for fear of being attacked by hyenas. Nowadays however, we can remain awake until 10:pm.
The lighting is much more than a simple convenience—it makes life safer, in that it keeps both hyenas and dirty, highly flammable kerosene out of the village. There is also an immediate economic effect on the local level, as resident Ester Keneth points out:
“Although I’m a poor, my situation has changed for the better because our house has light and the money that was spent on kerosene is now used for other things” she pointed out smiling.
Bringing solar power to parts of the world where the electrical grid has not taken hold is a powerful way to improve many lives. In the process, development of large Western-style generation facilities is sidestepped, and clean solar power can be set up to become the de facto energy source of choice in a developing economy. The effects are enormous, and they affect all of us.